Isabella He, a junior at Mission San Jose High School in Fremont, California, started the nonprofit organization SN Inclusion to bring career-technical education to individuals with special needs.
SN Inclusion is dedicated to preparing individuals with special needs for careers through integrated career-technical education (CTE). With unemployment rates for individuals with autism being approximately 90%, SN Inclusion’s mission is to tap into the unique strengths, passions, and abilities of special needs individuals to enable them to join the workforce.
SN Inclusion is a nonprofit organization. All courses and assistance provided are free. With this free assistance, Isabella hopes to make SN Inclusion as impactful for the special needs community as possible.
The organization has achieved partnerships with local businesses such as the embroidery company Turtleworks as well as with Friends Coffee and Tea, a cafe operating under the nonprofit organization Friends of Children with Special Needs (FCSN). SN Inclusion has advisors including board-certified experts on autism and other leading entrepreneurs in neurodiversity inclusion in the workplace.
SN Inclusion has consulted experts such as Mike Chapman, director of the UNC TEACCH Autism Program’s Supported Employment program. SN Inclusion has also sought expert advice from Dr. Lawrence Fung from Stanford University, Director of the Stanford Neurodiversity at Work project. Isabella works with Dr. Fung on the Stanford Neurodiversity Network for K-12 Neurodiversity Education and Advocacy (NNEA).
After writing a research paper about the benefits of career-technical education for all students in secondary education, Isabella realized the particular benefits CTE can provide for students with special needs. She combined her expertise on CTE and training for individuals with special needs to create her passion project, SN Inclusion.
Isabella interned in China at Chengdu’s Hospital for Women and Children’s program for children with special needs and taught these children firsthand, gaining valuable experience in working with individuals with special needs. She incorporated the knowledge she learned at the hospital program into SN Inclusion’s vocational training program.
Isabella is also a program coordinator for FCSN. With her team of FCSN directors, she coordinates the “Flexible Subject Virtual Tutoring” program to provide individuals with special needs with 1:1 virtual tutoring, which has been especially impactful during the COVID-19 pandemic. She also leads the “Starting FCSN Clubs at Your School” program to start multiple FCSN clubs at various high schools and colleges, guiding and supervising teams of volunteers/students at FCSN to start an FCSN club at their school, using her own experience forming the first-ever FCSN school club at her high school.
Individuals with special needs have incredible strengths, passions, and abilities that would be immensely valuable in the workforce. Isabella hopes to use her experience in working with individuals with special needs to make SN Inclusion a truly valuable program to improve neurodiversity in the workplace.
Sign up for the embroidery course in collaboration with local business Turtleworks at https://sninclusion.org/slides/embroidery-9.