Kids & Family

"Sweet" New Shop Run Mainly By Adults on the Autism Spectrum

This Pennsylvania confectionery was founded to create plenty of jobs for adults on the autism spectrum; a group which typically struggles to find lasting employment.


The sweetest thing about this confectionery in Monroeville, PA isn't the chocolate.

It's the idea behind the store - a sweet shop that is run entirely by adults on the autism spectrum. SpectroDolce is the brain child of Bryan Kiger, the CEO of Progress City , an HR firm that also operates the Autism Employment Network. "We created the Autism Employment Network [with the] idea of creating positive change for those with autism," says Kiger. "We wanted to give an opportunity for employees to have some direct work experience for those who didn't have any."

"I have a pretty spotty employment history," confesses Dan Hackett, one of SpectroDolce's employees who was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) at the age of 17. Dan ("The Man") isn't alone - 85% of college-educated adults with ASD have trouble finding work. The national unemployment rate, by comparison, is 4.5%.

Watch here as Dan and the rest of the SpectroDolce team take us through the inner workings of this pioneer shop:

While the store isn't yet run completely by folks with ASD (Kiger says there's always at least one ServSafe -certified employee on hand), Kiger hopes that in the future, some of the employees will be able to open their own SpectroDolce, providing even more employment opportunities for the ASD community.

Oh, and while the sweetest thing in the shop is the people, the second sweetest is definitely the chocolate-covered Rice Krispies - trust me.

If you're in the region and would like to check out their official grand opening (including the ribbon-cutting ceremony), you can find info here .

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