Fernco Unveils SPARK Program: Pioneering Autism Employment Initiative

DAVISON, MI – Fernco Inc. is proud to publicly announce the unveiling of the SPARK program, a groundbreaking initiative designed to provide employment opportunities for individuals on the Autism spectrum. Aligned with April being Autism Awareness Month, Fernco formally launched the SPARK program on April 2, 2024, coinciding with #LightItUpBlue campaign, where Fernco employees wore blue attire to raise awareness and support for autism.

Embodying the values of Skills, People, Awareness, Resilience, and Knowledge, The SPARK program offers a comprehensive, strength-based, person-centered approach to employment, ensuring that everyone is carefully matched with suitable job roles and environments. The program strives to create opportunities for self-advocacy while increasing confidence and the ability to operate in society.

spark team photo

Members of the SPARK team pose for a photo on April 2, 2024.

"Employing individuals with Autism has been one of the most rewarding divisions I have enabled in my lifetime," said Mark Cooper, President of Fernco. "Seeing the growth of our workers self-confidence, social skills, work habits, and teamwork is extremely fulfilling. It is pure pleasure seeing their progress, this makes me smile every day along with making me a stronger advocate for those who have barriers to employment.”

Inspired by a documentary featuring a father's efforts to create job opportunities for his son with autism, Mr. Cooper realized the immense potential of employing individuals on the Autism spectrum. In response, Fernco internally developed the SPARK program in the spring of 2021, amidst the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, and is now proud to publicly announce its official launch, demonstrating a commitment to leveraging diverse talents and skills.

The program has been met with genuine appreciation from Fernco employees, who support its mission and have witnessed its transformative impact on the company's culture. Employees have expressed deep satisfaction in seeing the program's growth and its positive contributions to fostering a welcoming and supportive work environment.


Employees throughout the organization wore blue to show their support for Autism Awareness Month and the #LightItUpBlue campaign.

It has been incredible to witness the evolution and success of the SPARK program," said Logan Albert, Director of Marketing at Fernco. "From its inception as a startup initiative to its development into a refined and sophisticated program, SPARK now plays an impactful role in cultivating a positive culture within our company. I often find myself wishing that employees at other companies could experience the significant benefits of having a program like this.”

While many of the SPARK employees contribute to assembly and packing operations, they also play integral roles across various departments such as finance, marketing, customer service, and sales. The growth of the SPARK department has led to the creation of new positions, including support roles and team leadership positions, filled internally by SPARK associates who have demonstrated exceptional leadership within the team.

As Fernco continues to expand the reach and impact of the SPARK program, it invites businesses and communities to join in supporting inclusive employment opportunities for individuals on the Autism spectrum.

For more information about Fernco and the SPARK program, visit https://www.fernco.com/spark 

About Fernco
Fernco is a global leader in the manufacturing and distribution of flexible couplings. Established in 1964, Fernco has continued to develop innovative, reliable, and easy-to-use solutions for plumbers, contractors, and municipalities. Headquartered in Davison, MI, Fernco is proud to manufacture a wide range of American made products.