NEXT CONNECTS is a bi-directional mentorship initiative developed by NEXT for AUTISM. The goal is to support young autistic adults entering the workforce while fostering improved acceptance and inclusion within businesses.
NEXT matches professionals who have established careers with autistic college students who will soon be seeking entry into the workforce. Mentors will provide support as well as collaboratively set personalized mentoring goals, promote career advancement opportunities, engage in knowledge transfer, and expand neuro-inclusive practices in the workplace.
NEXT CONNECTS launched a pilot program in Fall 2023, with 26 established professionals from eleven organizations, who came together to mentor college students on the spectrum. Organizations represented in the pilot program include PwC, Cigna, Dan Marino Foundation, Endo, Hyperion Materials & Technologies, Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO), Milestone Technologies, M-RETS, Nerd Street, Spectrum Life Consulting, and Wondermation Productions.