The Strong Museum in Rochester, New York has always been about play and education through discovery. Now in the first program of its kind in the area, adults will have the chance to do a little learning themselves.

The Strong has joined up with Arc of Monroe, AutismUp, and Monroe One BOCES for to launch the SELF – Strong Employment and Life Foundations – program. One of only a handful such programs in the nation, SELF is designed to teach employment skills and offer internships to people who have been diagnosed in the Autism spectrum.

Eight Rochester area adults and eight students from Monroe One BOCES will become interns at The Strong where they will learn skills in every aspect of the museum including facilities, guest services, collections, and marketing teams.

Arc of Monroe vocational experts will aid the participants in learning valuable employment skills. Understanding the different individuals learn in a variety of ways and at different speeds, there is no time limit attached to the program.

Speaking on the new initiative, The Strong president and CEO Steve Dubnik said, “the SELF program gets to the core of The Strong’s educational mission  and commitment to creating an inclusive environment. We’re pleased to partner with other community-minded organizations to provide these unique internship opportunities, and we hope that these 16 participants are just the first of many enrolled in what will be a long-lasting program in our community.”

The first group of interns are scheduled to begin on September 5.

More than just a museum, The Strong offers interactive exhibits that encourage play and is the home of the World Video Game Hall of Fame and the National Toy Hall of Fame.