Cartoon Network, the creative body behind popular animated cartoons like “Teen Titans,” “The Powerpuff Girls” and “Dexter’s Laboratory,” launched a mentoring program for autistic animators and filmmakers to help them break into the film industry.
In partnership with professional film training organization Exceptional Minds, Cartoon Network launched its three-month mentoring program for people on the spectrum on Monday. Second- and third-year students at Exceptional Minds with training in animation, visual effects, digital design and post-production are eligible to participate in the mentoring program.
The 20 students selected to participate in the first round of mentoring from the Cartoon Network Studios Academy will receive expert advice from industry professionals to help them break into the competitive world of animation and digital film production. According to Animation Magazine, students will be paired based on their interests and skill sets, ranging from from storyboarding to prop design.
This is the first time Cartoon Network has offered a mentoring program for students on the spectrum, which can help increase both representation of autistic people in the media and increase access to jobs. A 2017 report from Drexel University found that while 72% of autistic adults were involved in some type of vocational activity, paid or unpaid, only 14% of autistic adults had paid employment in their communities.
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Exceptional Minds, which is based in Los Angeles, also wants to bolster employment opportunities for autistic people in the community through its full- and part-time training programs in the film industry. Graduate students can participate in the organization’s professional studio, which is an “approved vendor” for major film studios like Disney, HBO, Marvel Studios and Netflix, among others.
“Our mentorship with Cartoon Network has officially started!” Exceptional Minds posted on Facebook. “So excited to see our students paired for the first time with such talented artists this morning! Day One was a huge success!”
Looking for other job opportunities? Check out this list of companies that regularly hire autistic workers.