Recently, I had the privilege of working with an intern on the autism spectrum. At the time, I didn’t know much about autism, but I knew I had a project that I had always wanted to get around to and thought it would be a good experience as well as a mitzvah. 

Then I met Cory Irwin and the internship became so much more. Thanks to Cory, any uninformed notion I had of people with autism completely dissolved. As a 24-year-old pursuing a master’s degree, he excelled at creating a catalog of artworks, but even more extraordinary was Cory’s presence in the office. He was a contributing staff member who will be remembered for his friendliness, outgoing attitude and passion for family and faith.

During his six-month internship at the Jewish Federation of Cleveland through Milestones Autism Resources and the Bobby Fund, I saw tremendous personal growth in Cory. He became more independent and was constantly improving upon his professional and personal interactions. I felt myself grow as well. 

Cory’s easy-going attitude and willingness to learn helped me become a better mentor. I highly encourage local employers to consider hiring a person with autism. Organizations like Milestones exist to help prospective employers and employees connect and create a work environment where everyone succeeds.

Debra Yasinow, Director

Cleveland Israel Arts Connection

Jewish Federation of Cleveland

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