Autism Speaks and GameStop NXT GEN Coders Grant Recipients

Partnering to provide digital opportunities to people with autism of all ages

November 28, 2018
GameStop Gives Logo

We are pleased to announce the fourteen recipients of the first Autism Speaks and GameStop NXT GEN Coders Program, which provides grants for organizations that teach digital skills to people across the autism spectrum, training them for careers in computer programming and coding. Funded by GameStop and administered by Autism Speaks, NXT GEN Coders grants will be awarded to organizations, schools and institutions that teach basic digital literacy and critical coding and computer programming skills to people with autism of all ages. 

We received applications from organizations across the country, from small community-based coding academies, to not for profit autism service providers, to large universities. Working with volunteer reviewers in the autism community, we selected the following organizations to receive grants:

  • Boys & Girls Clubs of Stoneham & Wakefield - Stoneham, MA. Our funding will allow them to create the following programs for people with autism as part of their Building Technology Initiative: 3D Printing; Advanced 3D Printing; Computer Building Club; Coding Club; Robotics Club; Drone Building Club; and Total Technology Club.
  • Coding Autism - Westlake Village, CA. Our funding will able to create a scholarship fund for up to five students. The students selected for the scholarship will be able to enroll into either the online part-time or full-time python & react.js web development course.
  • Families Helping Families NOLA - New Orleans, LA. Our funding will go towards a pilot program to identify a selected cohort of young people diagnosed with autism and train these young adults to learn computer coding for entry and employment in the tech industry. FHF will work in partnership with two existing nonprofit organizations-- Opportunities Academy (OA) and Operation Spark (OS).
  • Friends of Green Chimneys – Brewster, NY. Our funding will go towards the creation of an afterschool coding club for students with autism ages 10-18. They will introduce beginning students to fun programming assignments using Minecraft and Frozen. The older kids will focus on a variety of programming languages such as CSS, JavaScript, Python, and Ruby. The After School Coding Club will hopefully spark an interest in pursuing further education or a career in technology.
  • Islands of Brilliance – Milwaukee, WI. Our funding will go towards the purchase of equipment for the 2019 launch of a Digital Academy for up to 12 student participants. The organization will purchase Unity software, Oculus Medium VR software and hardware, and VR-Ready laptops.
  • MacDonald Training Center – Tampa, FL. Our funding will go towards providing scholarships for students to attend EXCEL (Excellence in Computer Education and Learning) a new, intensive and innovative 12 month educational program geared to the skills,affinities and interests of people on the Autism Spectrum.
  • National Foundation for Autism Research - San Diego, CA. Our funding will go towards the development and delivery of a curriculum that trains individuals with autism to develop computer coding and video game development skills. This program, NFAR Codes, will be a part of NFAR's signature technical training programs.
  • nonPareil Institute – Plano, TX. Our funding will go towards the purchase of equipment necessary for 65 unique individuals with autism to gain coding skills in high demand languages and domains. 
  • Tech Kids Unlimited - New York, NY. Our funding will go towards enhancing day and summer camps that offer digital and coding programs; experiential learning programs; learning to create video games for all ages; online coding and social skills for beginners, including school-aged kids; pre-employment transition programs with a coding emphasis; and social coding groups for school age kids.
  • Tech Talent South – Charlotte, NC. Our funding will go towards staff development and scholarships for their partnership with Advocations. This program will recruit more program participants with autism; training 100% of Tech Talent South’s staff on autism awareness and support; developing a framework for inclusive and visual supports; providing training and support for “navigators” (peer supports); and offering job placement and employment supports.
  • The Specialists Guild - San Francisco, CA. Our funding will go towards transferring the current Specialists Guild programming curriculum developed for adults on the autism spectrum to a web-based training. The web-based material will be structured so participants can work through the content independently. TSG will also make the material available to organizations to use the curriculum in-house with their current clients on the spectrum.
  • We Connect The Dots – Westbury, NY. Our funding will scholarships, support training resources, modifications to curriculum, and mentors to support student’s success. They will also incorporate career readiness training beyond the digital training, as well as communication skills to support the students as they engage in career planning and discovery.
  • Woodhaven Learning Center – Columbia, MO. Our funding will go towards scholarships and will also supplement the operational and curriculum costs for the other students who are enrolled increasing the impact.
  • Yukodit – Montclair, NJ. Our funding will go towards scholarships for at least ten individuals with autism, and developing a teacher guide and supporting materials that help students with autism access the Yukōdit curriculum.

There are many providers in this space of all types. Please see a list of some of these organizations and let us know if we're missing any by clicking here to submit a resource! 

                                            

Young man using computer
computer employees

We want to keep our community engaged and connected, so please join our LinkedIn groups where you can communicate with other people on anything relating to adults and autism! 

Anyone can join the discussion! Simply request to join the group, and you will be admitted asap:

Want to learn more? Here are some articles and videos on the subject!

http://www.news-gazette.com/news/local/2018-06-05/microsoft-invests-ui-program-help-autistic-students-pursue-stem-careers.html

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c_o5shDrPiM

https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/accessibility/2018/04/02/autismawareness2018/

https://www.peatworks.org/blog/2018/aug/technology-angle-autism-focused-hiring-initiatives

https://news.microsoft.com/stories/people/kyle-schwaneke.html

http://fortune.com/2018/06/24/where-autistic-workers-thrive/

https://hbr.org/2017/05/neurodiversity-as-a-competitive-advantage

 

To stay updated on our grants, please visit our Grants for Service Providers page and follow us on Facebook!