The Spectrum Works Pop-Up Store at American Dream Gives Autistic Students a Chance to Practice What They Teach

Spectrum Works, Inc., a New Jersey non-profit dedicated to providing job training and employment opportunities for high school students and other young adults with autism, is proud to announce the opening of a pop-store for a limited time at American Dream, the unrivaled entertainment/retail center located in Bergen County, New Jersey. The store features t-shirts, sweatshirts and baby onesies in a wide variety of designs and colors and is staffed by Spectrum Works students. All clothing is highly discounted and 100% of the proceeds support employment opportunities for autistic young adults.

“We are very excited to partner with American Dream on this unique opportunity for our students to gain real world experience working with the public amid the bustle of this unparalleled complex,” states Ann Marie Sullivan, CEO and founder of Spectrum Works. “Our job coaches are on hand to manage the administration, but the students are essentially running the daily operation, from handling the payment transactions, to maintaining the displays and assisting customers.”

Sullivan adds, “This American Dream store is our proving ground. Part of our Job Training & Employment program involves placing our students as interns and employees with participating partner companies. What better way to show that autistic individuals are an untapped resource for virtually any industry than exposing them to so many diverse opportunities under one roof.”

The store also showcases the work of former student Dennis Taylor, whose published book titled Bandit’s Legacy along with his own t shirt designs featuring original dinosaur themed artwork are available for purchase as well. (Taylor additionally acts as script consultant for AJ Gadgets, a superhero-in-training with autism, for the PBS KIDS show Hero Elementary.)

The store is open Monday through Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. now through July 29 and is located within American Dream near the ice rink.

Further information is found at: https://spectrum-works.square.site/

About Spectrum Works

Spectrum Works was founded by Ann Marie Sullivan, an entrepreneur with two decades of experience in building and managing start-up organizations, to address a critical disconnect between an 80% unemployment rate for individuals with autism and their value to the workforce as employees with inherent skills and abilities. In 2013, she partnered with Robert Butters, founder of Green Distribution, to make the Spectrum Works vision a reality. 

The Spectrum Works signature Job Training and Employment Program incorporates integrated on-the-job training, classroom-based learning with a focus on soft skills, and competitive employment opportunities via partnerships with participating companies. 

Spectrum Works unique approach educates companies that individuals with autism can be valuable productive workers, provides various programs to help companies build inclusive workforces, and implements programs to assist high schools and universities create job training programs for individuals with autism.  Our model helps young adults with autism live up to their potential for stable, successful, economically self-sufficient lives and, at the same time, helps companies create neuro-diverse workforces.   

Spectrum Works is a (501)(c)(3) designated non-profit organization located in Secaucus, New Jersey.

About American Dream

American Dream, developed by Triple Five Group, is an unparalleled mix of world-class entertainment, retail and dining, comprising more than 3 million square feet in East Rutherford, New Jersey, just minutes away from New York City. American Dream is home to leading indoor attractions including DreamWorks Water Park, Nickelodeon Universe Theme Park, LEGOLAND Discovery Center, SEA LIFE Aquarium, Big SNOW Ski Hill, and more. A curated collection of immersive retail experiences includes flagship locations for Aritzia, H&M, PRIMARK, Uniqlo, Sephora and Zara; as well as the world’s first and only “candy department store,” IT’SUGAR. For more information on American Dream, visitwww.americandream.comor find us on Instagram@americandream and TikTok @americandream_official

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Meadowlands Magazine

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