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Dr. Hallowell's Blog

ADHD: late teens and twenties are often make-or-break years

Make or break years

One of the most pressing needs for people who have ADHD, or any other learning difference, is “getting launched,” finding a job, finding some activity in this world that someone else is willing to pay you to do that is meaningful and does not involve breaking the law.

The late teens and twenties are often make-or-break years for these young men and women.  If they do not do well in the world of standard college education or even trade school, if they have trouble fitting into learning institutions, if they do not fit a typical 9-5 environment, then their talent can go to waste, or not get recognized at all.

I’ve spent my entire career discovering that these people usually have enormous talent, and that it is worth the effort to go in search of it. Parents’ basements, unemployment lines, rehab centers or homeless shelters are not the places for them to find their talents.  Sadly, often there are few other places for them once they reach a certain age.

I’d been waiting a long time for the two incredible men who created InventiveLabs to come along when they did.  What they created is a godsend.  Let me tell you a little bit about it.

I have been an advisor for InventiveLabs since before they opened their doors and it has been impressive to watch two seasoned entrepreneurs, Rick Fiery and Tom Bergeron, work as hard as they have to evolve their business. Each year they have expanded their offering to people in the learning differences community where they work with people with ADHD, dyslexia or who are on the autism spectrum. They offer Gap-year, entrepreneurship and career prep programs, but I think their latest evolution is a real game changer for these folks and their families!

From the beginning, they knew that to truly make an impact, they needed to get corporations to buy into their vision of celebrating the tremendous strengths and abilities of people with ADHD and other learning differences. They are now engaging with companies to reserve some of their precious college internships and co-ops, for people who participate in InventiveLabs Career Prep program. These will be real pathways to employment in careers such as cybersecurity, programming or marketing; for positions that are normally offered only to college graduates. The first company they have signed up for this program should be celebrated as an innovator- Bentley Systems in Exton, PA.  They are a multinational software company, with subsidiaries in over 40 countries, and a CEO and team that truly get the mission. InventiveLabs is working with Bentley to define positions that leverage the strengths of people with learning differences. The Lab will then recruit candidates for these spots and train them on how to fit into an accepting corporate environment and prep them for the business elements of the chosen position. The interns will have the opportunity to earn a full-time position.

Why is this such a game-changer? Companies have almost become trained to simply tick the box that says “college degree required” for their internships and higher-level positions. It is almost becoming muscle memory. InventiveLabs is challenging that assumption by pointing out that they are missing some of the brightest minds on the planet. Many of these brilliant young people are trapped at home or in dead-end jobs that do not leverage their strengths. This movement, when it spreads to other companies, can liberate them and allow them to shine without constraint.

This is a movement that is long overdue.  I am proud to say that InventiveLabs, a group I backed from the very beginning, is leading the way. If you know somebody who is stuck, and could benefit from the opportunity to work with them, please send that person to www.inventivelabs.org to apply for the next session starting in September 2018. And, if you work for a company with an internship program, or you have the ability to take on interns from InventiveLabs yourself, please contact Rick or Tom. I know for a fact they will be thrilled to take your call. Their contact details are on their website –www.inventivelabs.org or you can reach them via email at info@inventivelabs.org.

Dr. Hallowell will host an Open House at InventiveLabs on May 31, 2018. Look for updates on our Events Page.

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