After Rejection from Employers, Rhode Island Man with Autism Starts His Own Business

Unemployment remains a major crisis for those on the autism spectrum. According to recent statistics from Market, 85% of college graduates with autism are unemployed.

Michael Coyne, a Special Olympics athlete and Rhode Island native with autism, ADHD, and bipolar disorder, was one of the many young people on the spectrum struggling to find employment. According to a Fox News report this month, Coyne said he faced rejection from countless employers in his hometown after turning 21.

“After I turned 21, I applied [at] multiple places,” Coyne said. “None of them would hire me.”

Fed up with the struggle to find work, Coyne decided to become a business owner himself. After enrolling in business classes through the Rhode Island Developmental Disabilities Council, Coyne (with the help of his parents) opened his coffee shop, Red, White, and Brew.

Coyne’s mother, Sheila Coyne, said the success of the shop since its opening a few weeks ago has been an inspiration for other parents of children with autism.

“We've had parents come in with tears in their eyes, with hope that their young people will eventually be accepted into the community,” Coyne said, according to a report last month by

The Coyne’s also shared their appreciation in a message on the Red, White, and Brew Facebook page not long after its grand opening.

“We are so humbled by the outpouring of support,” the message read. “It has truly been nothing short of amazing. We truly appreciate each and every one of you and look forward to seeing you all again soon!” it continued. “We hope we exceeded your expectations!”


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