'We wanted to make a difference': Spectrum Designs provides jobs for people on autism spectrum

CEO Patrick Bardsley says the company's clientele rose as word spread that the printing, pressing and embroidery were all done by workers on the spectrum.

Apr 19, 2023, 7:05 AM

Updated 402 days ago

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A Long Island company prides itself on employing workers on the autism spectrum.
Spectrum Designs churns out thousands of custom printed items a day thanks to the hard work of employees like 30-year-old Josh Mirsky.
Mirsky says previous employers treated him cruelly because he was on the spectrum.
"They didn't give me a chance," he says.
Mirsky says he has found acceptance and fulfillment while working at Spectrum Designs.
Nicole Ferrara co-founded the company to give her autistic son and others like him job opportunities.
"There's just an incredible void in employment, opportunities for people with autism and we wanted to make a difference," Ferrara says.
The company started 12 years ago in a backyard barn with two workers and one printer.
Now it has 77 employees with 44 of them on the autism spectrum. They work in a two-story building overlooking Manhasset Bay.
Spectrum Designs CEO Patrick Bardsley says as word spread that the printing, pressing and embroidery were all done by workers on the autism spectrum, the company's clientele rose.
"Their minds are just blown, and you see them kind of change their misconceptions around the capabilities of people with disabilities," Bardsley says.
The company's annual revenue is now $5 million a year.
Mirsky hopes other businesses will adopt Spectrum Designs' social mission of inclusion.
"Just give us a shot," Mirsky says. "You'll be pleasantly surprised."


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