The UPS Foundation Awards a 2013 Top Grant to San Diego Nonprofit National Foundation for Autism Research (NFAR)

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The $20,500 National Grant Will Fund Equipment and Instructors to Support NFAR’s Technology Training Program for San Diego Teens and Young Adults with Autism

National Foundation for Autism Research (NFAR), proudly announced today that it received a $20,500 grant from The UPS Foundation, the charitable arm of UPS. The grant, one of their largest awarded this year, will provide computer equipment, software, and instructional expertise for NFAR’s San Diego Technology Training Program. Offering technical workshops and hands-on training in the field of software testing, the program is designed to create opportunities for young adults with high functioning autism, building skills and experience that can lead to careers.

Autism is now the fastest growing and most common childhood disorder, with 1 in every 50 school-aged child receiving a diagnosis. In California, state statistics indicate that 84% of those with autism are currently under 22 years of age and have yet to reach the workforce or adult public assistance programs.

Recent research studies funded by the National Institutes for Mental Health (NIMH) and the Department of Education (DOE) have found that as many as 1 in 3 young adults with autism have no job experience, college, or technical education within seven years of leaving high school, a poorer outcome than those with any other disability.

“There is a tremendous need for long-term solutions for our children,” notes Juan Leon, co-founder of NFAR and the father of a 20-year old son with autism. “Individuals with high functioning autism tend to have the skills and abilities well suited for technical careers. They are highly intelligent, have a high attention to detail, and thrive in predictable and independent work environments. This grant from The UPS Foundation couldn’t have come at a better time, and will help NFAR provide much-needed hands-on training as well as expand opportunities for those with autism in today’s workforce.”

By finding employment, people with disabilities gain the opportunity to build self-esteem, grow professionally, develop a social network of co-workers, as well as gain some level of financial independence. The Technical Training program launched earlier this year by the San Diego-based NFAR is designed to better serve and prepare teens and young adults with autism for a productive future, and provides both technical training and hands-on experience providing real-time software testing for local development companies- all in a supportive environment.

“As an employee driven organization, UPS and The UPS Foundation like to support initiatives our employees are passionate about,” said Kevin Foley, VP, Human Resources, The UPS Store. “We are honored to support NFAR’s efforts in creating a new generation of employees that will benefit not only the San Diego tech industry, but also make a lasting difference in the global community.”

Each year, The UPS Store awards $125,000 on behalf of the UPS Foundation to organizations committed to change, such as NFAR.

To learn more about NFAR’s Technical Training program or to get involved, please visit or contact Maya Del Guidice at (619) 402-3828.

About the National Foundation for Autism Research (NFAR)
NFAR was founded in December 2003 in response to the growing epidemic of children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). NFAR’s mission is to promote the development of innovative treatment programs, services, and educational options that improve the quality of life for those with autism. Since 2005, NFAR has invested more than one million dollars across the San Diego community, positively impacting the living and learning environment for thousands of local children with autism. NFAR’s main fundraising event, the San Diego Race for Autism, will celebrate its 10th anniversary event on March 22, 2014 in Balboa Park in advance of April’s National Autism Awareness Month. or follow us on Facebook and on Twitter @NatlFdn4Autism.

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Maya Del Guidice
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