Gene LarsonKemmerer

This is a success story about a young man, Gene Larson, who has autism and lives in a small town (around 500 people) in Wyoming. He lives in an area where there are few job opportunities, however, this did not deter Gene and his family from finding a way for him to become employed. With lots of hard work, dedication, pride, love, and a huge amount of passion to find some way to make dogs as happy as they make humans, Gene developed a small business where he makes homemade dog biscuits, Gene's Homemade Dog Treats – Building Autism Awareness. There was a large amount of collaboration, hard work, and trial and error that took place between Gene, Gene's supportive and loving mother and family, the passionate and caring educational staff of Lincoln County School District #2, and the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation.

Gene and his family investigated numerous ideas as to how to get Gene employed. The school provided Gene with a few on the job trainings. Once we (i.e., the team) started exploring options we realized we had to get creative. There was a large amount of collaboration, hard work, and trial and error that took place between Gene, Gene's supportive and loving mother and family, the passionate and caring educational staff of Lincoln County School District #2, and the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation.We explored growing and selling produce as one idea, raising sheep was another, but the one that interested Gene the most was making and selling dog biscuits because it makes the puppies and dogs happy. The school district started by investigating if this was something that Gene could eventually do on his own by making a few batches of dog treats as well as changing and developing a specific recipe that was/is Gene's. The team quickly realized this could be something that could become a career for Gene. Hence, Vocational Rehabilitation helped purchase some equipment such as an industrial mixer, ingredients, oven, cooling racks, dough roller and cutter, and other supplies and tools that would make it easier on Gene while making the treats as well as assure he could perform the work from home and as independent as possible. Gene started an online website to order these treats and began placing his treats in veterinarian offices (he also did some on the job trainings in these types of settings), at Paws and Claws, an animal shelter in Kemmerer, and was soon volunteering at the shelter as well.

Gene is attempting to grow his business by exploring the possibility of getting his dog biscuits in the local grocery stores, additional veterinarian offices, and more internet orders. The ultimate goal is to get as many orders as possible. Please share this information with as many animal lovers as possible as to keep a young man whom has worked very hard employed in a job/career that he loves.