VERONA, NJ - Octogenarian, Verona resident and former president of Katharine Gibbs College, Beverly Ficon, spends her time as a program manager and job coach at Spectrum Works (spectrumworks.org), a nonprofit organization based in Secaucus, whose purpose is to drive the inclusion of individuals with autism into the workplace.

Sadly, people with autism are massively unemployed or under-employed.  Spectrum Works partners with companies to design diverse abilities and inclusion strategies, consult and advise on execution, train company managers and employees and implement scalable on-site employment programs.

During her time with Spectrum Works, Beverly has worked with nearly 100 students, helping them hone marketable skills that are coveted in the workplace – with many of her students going on to achieve great success.

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For example, one student, Dennis Taylor, 26, who has Asperger’s Syndrome, is now a consultant for a national TV network on an upcoming animated series featuring a character similar to himself; this is in addition to holding down a full-time job as a graphic designer at FM Expressions in Secaucus. His past experience includes being a job coach assistant at Rent the Runway, under Beverly’s supervision. She taught him leadership and mentorship skills, how to work efficiently and productively, time management techniques and more.

Another student, Andrew Berra, 29, of Verona, is the grandson of baseball legend, Yogi Berra. He works as a mentor himself now at Green Distribution in Secaucus, the largest screen printing company on the East Coast where in the “finishing” department, he helps colleagues sort, ticket, tag and size rock star t-shirts for customers including Harley Davidson, Fanatics, Universal Music and the Hard Rock Cafe.

Beverly’s rich trajectory of business and career leadership and community service is grounded in decades of wisdom and passion, and she is sharing it at Spectrum Works.

“The past three years have been the most rewarding and inspirational of my career,” said Beverly. “Spectrum Works and working with Ann Marie Sullivan (the organization’s CEO) have afforded me the opportunity to tackle new challenges and have new experiences. I’m very thankful. My time at Spectrum Works has been immensely gratifying, and my joy there will last a lifetime.”

TAPinto Verona/Cedar Grove  is an online newspaper serving the Townships of Verona and Cedar Grove. TAPinto Verona/Cedar Grove is accredited by the New Jersey Press Association, and is a locally owned news organization serving the community.

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