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TMCNet:  Ngmoco Mobile Gaming Co-Founders Underwrite Exceptional Minds, a Vocational School of Computer Savvy Young Adults on the Autism Spectrum.

[November 09, 2012]

Ngmoco Mobile Gaming Co-Founders Underwrite Exceptional Minds, a Vocational School of Computer Savvy Young Adults on the Autism Spectrum.

Sherman Oaks, CA, Nov 09, 2012 ( via COMTEX) -- Private investors Bob Stevenson and Neil Young, who co-founded mobile gaming company Ngmoco, provided critical initial funding for a new approach to vocational training of young adults on the autism spectrum. In early 2011, the two underwrote an idea that became Exceptional Minds, a new vocational academy and working studio for young adults on the spectrum that has since gone from idea to Hollywood prodigy with several movie projects under its belt, including title work for major motion picture Lawless.

With one in 88 kids diagnosed with autism, Exceptional Minds is now being lauded as the poster child for what's next for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), many of whom are underemployed or unemployed yet demonstrate an aptitude for computer animation and technology in general.

"Bob and Neil come at autism from a very different perspective than most of us, having both been involved in the technology sector. They understand the unique relationship between autism and computers, and I think that's why they were able to appreciate what we were trying to accomplish with Exceptional Minds when it was still just a germ of an idea," says Yudi Bennett, the director of operations for Exceptional Minds, and the parent of a young adult on the autism spectrum.

Exceptional Minds was started by Bennett and other pioneers in the film and visual effects industries as a bridge between high school and the working world for individuals with ASD.

"Computers and animation and video post-production, this is the world the autism community is passionate about, so it made sense to us that there should be a school like Exceptional Minds to show these individuals how to translate that passion into employment," says Stevenson.

Exceptional Minds started its second school year in August with a waiting list for enrollment. Its three-year program includes technical training for Adobe (ACA) certification, job readiness skills and a professional reel/portfolio that graduates can use to seek employment in the fields of animation, computer graphics and post production.

Stevenson and Young continue to underwrite Exceptional Minds, and are now joined by Adobe Systems, DreamWorks, Visual Effects Society, Luminous Capital, Riordan Foundation, New York Community Trust, and Kayne Anderson Capital Advisors Foundation, among others, in supporting the new vocational academy.

About Exceptional Minds Exceptional Minds is a non-profit vocational center and working production studio for young adults on the autism spectrum. Chartered in 2011 to provide the training necessary for visually-gifted ASD individuals who may not otherwise be able to make the transition from high school to the working world, Exceptional Minds offers technical proficiency and work readiness skills that prepare students for careers in graphic arts, animation, web design, visual effects and rotoscoping. Located in Sherman Oaks, California, Exceptional Minds is both an instructional learning facility and a working studio with hands-on student involvement in production projects, many for the film industry.

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