New York Clothing Boutique Combats Autism Unemployment Crisis
Unemployment remains a serious challenge for individuals on the autism spectrum. 85% of college graduates with autism are unemployed, according to statistics cited by Market Watch.com and other sources. To combat this crisis, major corporations have developed strategies to become autism-inclusive, drawing on the talents of individuals with autism in engineering, computing, and other areas. Some small businesses have also taken steps to incorporate those with autism into the workforce.
One of the latter is Be(Cause) Lifestyle Boutique, a clothing boutique in Wading River, New York. Founded in 2018 by entrepreneur Stacey Wohl, the store aims to employ individuals on the autism spectrum. Wohl’s daughter Brittany, who is autistic and non-verbal, is already employed at the store. Wohl’s previous business, Cause Café, employed both Brittany and Wohl’s son, Logan, who is also autistic. The café, which was featured on programs such as the Rachel Ray Show and Today, closed in 2015 after the passing of Wohl’s parents.
According to a report this month by Riverhead Local.com, Wohl said she has received a huge outpouring of support from the community since opening Be(Cause).
“Since I opened this store there has been an overwhelming support from the community, from the community page,” she said. “After people came in, they have messaged me and they have been very warm and nice.”
Wohl added that working at the new boutique has been beneficial for her daughter as well. “Somebody like Brittany who is non-verbal, to see her use the iPad and use the register and interact with the customers, is a beautiful thing,” Wohl said. “It’s why I tried to do this again. I could’ve just gotten a job part-time, but then my daughter wouldn’t have a job. The template of what I started wouldn’t be doing anything.”