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Adobe Connects Tech Jobs and Autism With Funding to Exceptional Minds

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Sherman Oaks, CA – As the record number of young adults with autism continues to outpace government resources and employment prospects, Adobe stepped forward this month to support Exceptional Minds, a pioneering digital arts vocational school now preparing individuals with autism for careers in animation, digital graphics and movie post-production.

The $15,000 donation by Adobe is the latest development in the relationship with Exceptional Minds, which was chartered in 2011 by visionaries in the film and visual effects industry to create a bridge between high school and the working world for individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD).

Over the past two years, Adobe has donated time and thousands of dollars in software applications, training resources and mentoring to the school. This month’s generous donation of $15,000 will help the school complete expansion into a new facility opened in the fall in order to meet burgeoning demand for its program, and provide job development as well as help fund a new working studio for its first graduating class in the spring of 2014.

“Adobe understands the significance of what we are achieving here at Exceptional Minds, not just for our students and their families but for the movie and other industries that will benefit the most from this talent,” says Yudi Bennett, Director of Operations for Exceptional Minds, and the parent of a young adult on the autism spectrum.

Almost a million young adults with autism will age out of the public school system in the next decade, many of whom are underemployed or unemployed yet demonstrate an aptitude for digital animation and technology in general. Exceptional Minds is the first vocational school of its kind to draw on the visual as well as technical strengths of individuals with autism to prepare them for gainful employment in the digital arts. At the heart of its three-year program is student technical certification in Adobe Flash, Dreamweaver and at least four other software programs considered to be the gold standard in the digital visual effects industry.

Exceptional Minds students have achieved a near 100% pass rate as Adobe Certified Associates (ACA) in key programs and have gone on to practice their skills in internship and post-production projects, including several for major-motion pictures.

In addition to Adobe, Newman’s Own Foundation, Tom Hanks, DreamWorks Animation, Bob Stevenson, Neil Young and many other Exceptional Minds sponsors have provided funding and support for the school in order to help meet the groundswell of demand by young adults on the spectrum in need of job skills.

Exceptional Minds digital arts academy for young adults on the autism spectrum is a 501(c) (3) charitable organization.

About Exceptional Minds

It is a non-profit vocational center and working production studio for young adults on the autism spectrum. It was chartered in 2011 to provide the training necessary for creatively-gifted individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) who may not otherwise be able to make the transition from high school to careers. Exceptional Minds offers technical proficiency and work readiness training that prepares students for careers in graphic arts, animation, web design, visual effects and rotoscoping. Located in Sherman Oaks, California, Exceptional Minds is both an instructional learning facility and a working studio with hands-on student involvement in production projects, many for the film industry.

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