Most of us in Portland know that when it comes to livability, beer and bikes, our city takes the cake. But did you know that we also have more cases of autism than any other city in the United States? And that 90% of those on the spectrum are unemployed? Well thanks to Dan Selec and the nonPareil Institute (nPI), there is a major movement underway to fix that.
At this month’s New Relic FutureTalks PDX event, Dan gave a truly inspiring talk about his organization and its mission to provide technical training, employment, and housing to individuals who have been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. Having grown from 9 to 157 individuals in just the last 4 years (with a wait list of nearly 1,000) and a vision to create living campuses for their Crew, nPI is looking to expand into one of the 40+ cities that have put in requests. After an amazing programming camp hosted by George Fox University last Spring, and a successful Programming Hope Indiegogo campaign, Portland is in the running as an initial candidate!
Practical autism solutions
Dan founded nonPareil in 2008 with the desire to help his son and others on the spectrum, who may possess amazing technical skills that often prove difficult to translate directly into employment. The solution he arrived at was to utilize technology itself to overcome that hurdle. At the institute, students get connected with professionals to find areas where they excel, whether that’s using industry standard design tools, coding, 3D modeling, or joining a film team. Evidence of the program’s success can be seen with a simple iOS app store search for “npi” (it has produced 5 apps to date) and the fact that 90% of nPi classes are taught by former students.
For more information about the non-profit, its research collaborations with local universities, and the institute’s plans for client work, watch the following video.
Another year of FutureTalks
With this talk, we’ve come to the end of another year of our monthly New Relic FutureTalks in Portland! Boy did that go by quickly, but we’re not stopping there. Next month will feature our first-ever moderated panel discussion with Portland startup guru Rick Turoczy and local mobile thought leaders! Stay tuned for updates on this and future events by joining our Meetup group, New Relic FutureTalks PDX, and following us on Twitter @newrelic.