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Let's partner for all of it. Learn more at edwardjones.com. Good morning. Jane Polly is off this weekend. I'm Lee Cowan, and this is Sunday Morning. In honor of Labor Day, we'll be highlighting a group of workers, too often sidelined, who are proving they can indeed do good work at some of our nation's biggest companies. When tech giant Microsoft used World Autism Day three years ago to announce that it was starting a pilot program to hire autistic workers, something remarkable happened. What was the response?
It was off the hook. We had over 700 resumes within a few weeks. How much has having this job changed your life?
It has completely turned it around. The changing face of workplace diversity ahead on Sunday morning. To say the name Twiggy is to bring back memories not just of a certain fashion model, but of a fabled time as well. This morning, Twiggy looks back with our Martha Teichner. 50 years ago, Twiggy was the most famous supermodel in the world. The face, the name, and the body of the 60s. You know, I'm a much older woman now and I look back and it amazes me that I didn't lose it really because it was mad. It was bonkers.
What happened when the 60s ended? Ahead this Sunday morning, Twiggy today. Then it's time for some good clean fun featuring an age-old household implement that's music to the ears of folks in one heartland town with Connor Knighton will listen in. Some soap on there like that you take the item you want to wash and you rub it on the soap. There may be easier ways to do laundry, but there's probably no easier way to make music than to strum on a washboard. I think if you can dance you can play washboard. Washboards are not washed up yet later on Sunday morning.
We'll have those stories and more just ahead. Senator John McCain will be laid to rest at the U.S. Naval Academy Cemetery in Annapolis. He comes after the nation bid its farewell Saturday at the National Cathedral in Washington where a host of prominent Americans honored the senator including two former presidents, Barack Obama and George W. Bush. Those who spoke came to the National Cathedral at Senator McCain's request.
They sat where he asked them to sit, rivals often side by side. But as each ascended the pulpit the words were theirs and a nation listened. The America of John McCain has no need to be made great again because America was always great. His daughter, Meghan McCain. We gather here to mourn the passing of American greatness. The real thing, not cheap rhetoric from men who will never come near the sacrifice he gave so willingly, nor the opportunistic appropriation of those who live lives of comfort and privilege while he suffered and served. McCain's tone, his tenor, and even his temper was celebrated by those who saw it all firsthand. After all what better way to get a last laugh than to make George and I say nice things about him to a national audience.
Back in the day he could frustrate me and I know he'd say the same thing about me but he also made me better. And that's the theme that kept returning. John McCain as a principled leader. So much of our politics, our public life, our public discourse can seem small and mean.
It's a politics that pretends to be brave and tough but in fact is born of fear. John called on us to be bigger than that. He called on us to be better than that. One of his books ended with the words and I moved on. John has moved on. He would probably not want us to dwell on it but we are better for his presence among us. The world is smaller for his departure and we will remember him as he was unwavering, undemned, unequal. There are some things bigger than party, or ambition, or money, or fame, or power. There are some things that are worth risking everything for. Principles that are eternal, truths that are abiding. At his best John showed us what that means.
For that we are all deeply in his debt. And now a page from our Sunday morning almanac. September 2, 1969. 49 years ago today. The day a bank in Rockville Center, New York introduced the new face of banking. It was an automated teller machine, an ATM, operated by cards with magnetic strips.
Widely considered to be the very first of its kind. In those days most banks kept what came to be known as banker's hours, usually 9 a.m to 3 p.m Monday through Friday, which of course guaranteed congestion at the teller windows. I was in the teller line one day Bill wanting to cash a check to get some money. The ATM was the brainchild of Don Wetzel, who recalled his moment of inspiration for our Bill Geist back in 1995.
It dawned on me there's there's got to be a better way of doing this. And so the ATM was born. Advertisements ballyhooed the machine's advantages, trying to win over resistant customers who preferred dealing with human tellers.
Okay just push clear that's okay do it again. And so not everyone was won over by the cash contraptions as Don Wetzel himself told Bill that day. Well as a matter of fact my wife has never used an ATM.
Plenty of other people did use them of course and still do today. Forever more complex and cutting-edge transactions. In honor of your invention.
As for ATM pioneer Don Wetzel, he was honored by the Smithsonian Institution in 1995. Every employee likes to hear someone say the words good work and not just around Labor Day. But to be a truly valued employee you first have to be hired, which for one group of often underrated folks has been quite a challenge until now. 27-year-old Christopher Polly thought he had it all figured out when it came to looking for a job. So all of these are all the people you sent resumes to? Yes. Whoa.
He had a detailed spreadsheet of each and every position he applied for. How many? At least 600. Wow. But despite his degree in computer science from California Polytechnic State University, he went two years with barely a nibble. Were you getting were you getting pretty discouraged?
Oh my gosh my morale really started to drop towards the end. There were days where I would either hardly fill out any applications at all or just simply not apply to anything. He knew he had the smarts for most jobs. He was a former spelling bee champ after all. But Christopher struggles with social and communication skills because he's also autistic. While precise numbers are hard to come by, by some estimates at least 80 percent of adults with autism are unemployed, even though their IQs are often well above average.
This is called at night in dreams. Sometimes their job skills can present themselves in unique ways. For Christopher, it's video games. His ability to recognize patterns and his acute attention to detail, both hallmarks of autism, make this look pretty easy. And they are the same skills he was hoping would impress prospective employers in the computer programming world. But he always had to get past that interview, which was a challenge at best. Was there any in any of those interviews a time where you just wanted to tell somebody, look I know my social skills maybe aren't quite what you expect, but I know I can do this job and I know I can do a really good job if you give me a chance.
Yes. But you never said that to anybody. Most of the time, no. Because why? I just wasn't comfortable because it makes me come across as desperate.
At Microsoft, however, there was no need to hide his autism. They were looking for it. It's a talent pool that really hasn't been tapped.
Jenny LaFlurrie is the Chief Accessibility Officer. There really is and was a lot of data on the table that said to us that we were missing out. We were missing out on an opportunity to bring talent in. And I think that's a really important opportunity to bring talent in with autism. So in a way it sounds like this was almost a business imperative.
Heck yeah. People with disabilities are a strength and a force of nature in this company, myself included. LaFlurrie, who is profoundly deaf, communicates by reading lips and working with an interpreter. She helped create a hiring program for Microsoft in 2015 outside of the classroom designed to better identify candidates with autistic talents. So I'm going to put 18 minutes on the clock. Instead of the traditional job interview focusing so heavily on social skills, that's what we want for the base, the company has replaced it with a vetting process that lasts for weeks and team building exercises like this demonstration called the marshmallow challenge.
All right is that marshmallow gonna fit on top of this thing somehow? Being able to watch an environment as opposed to sitting across the table interviewing them makes all the difference in the world. Every difference. Every day in any company in any role you're going to be asked to work with someone else to figure out a problem or a challenge. And yet in that scenario they're not as self-conscious that they're being observed for a job. They're just doing a task.
It's marshmallows. After Christopher went through a similar unconventional interview process back in 2016, Microsoft quickly hired him as a software engineer. I like it.
Well done. His manager Brent Truelle says he was immediately impressed by Christopher's out-of-the-box thinking. When we are faced with really complicated problems, the solutions to those aren't always simple. And Christopher always kind of brings new insights and having that creative mind.
He always brings something new to the team which is really exciting. Which is exactly what Microsoft said. Why you why you hired him, right?
That's what you're looking for, right? It's an idea that's catching on. Last year 50 big-name companies including JP Morgan, Ford and Ernst & Young came together for a summit on how to bring more autistic adults into the workforce. We know at SAP that innovation really happens at the edges.
It was hosted at the Silicon Valley campus of German software maker SAP. SAP was one of the first large companies to reach out to the autistic community. It started its Autism at Work program five years ago and since then it's hired 140 people on the spectrum with the goal of hiring more than 600. I have been in this industry for close to 30 years and I can tell you it's probably the single most rewarding program that I have been involved with.
Jose Velasco heads the program. The biggest surprise for him he says has been the variety of candidates applying. Very quickly we started getting resumes from people that had degrees in history and literature, in graphic design, attorneys, a whole wide array of jobs. So really you went into this thinking that that people with autism would be good at certain jobs.
Yes. Which ended up discovering is they're good at all jobs. They are good at just about every role. And they're expected to perform in those roles just like anyone else.
And everybody speaks English. Mike Zebrowski for example was hired three years ago and works in cyber security in SAP's office outside Philadelphia. When we were visiting Jose was helping Mike get ready for a long stint at the company world headquarters in Germany. If you would have told me six years ago that we would have an employee who is openly autistic in the company going on a business trip to Germany for for a month I would have not believed you.
I'm still looking through the documentation. Almost everyone has been a surprise he says. He points to 26 year old Gloria Mendoza. You should see some of the videos I had when I was a child. I was not very socially skilled with the other kids, not showing interest with other people, displaying some of the challenging behaviors that a child in the autism spectrum would have. When she was very young I used to worry so much because I never thought she will overcome all what she has done.
So it was like a very dark cloud. Her parents Rosaria and Enrique Mendoza helped get Gloria years of speech and occupational therapies as well as access to top doctors. Gloria made huge strides in her childhood but her parents were still concerned about how autism might affect her future.
We worry about her adult life. Well first of all because she made it through high school then once she does that you know can she make it through college can she be independent. She made it through both high school and college. In fact she got two degrees from Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania. One in music, she has a beautiful singing voice, and another in computer science. And yet a year after graduating and hundreds of resumes later she still couldn't find a job until she applied to SAP.
Probably the best part about working here is that I can use the skills which I have studied whilst being among people that understand who I am and how I'm different from everybody else. SAP put Gloria through five weeks of training which included working on her social skills. Hey George. Hi Gloria, how's it going? She's now in something called digital business services. Now are there any more further questions or incidents you want me to add?
Where she deals directly with customers. What's the one dream you really want to come true? Probably that I can be really up there at my department earning a lot of money and still keeping the friends that I have.
I'm actually still alive. Her new friends are mostly co-workers in the autism program and they try to get together regularly. This was game night. And that CBS is how you be play Smash Brothers. I never really had that many friends when I was younger and having this wide variety of friends that understands me really makes all the difference for me. How so? Because I can express myself in ways that people won't look at me weird and it turns out that a lot of people have common interests as I do. SAP boasts a retention rate of about 90 percent for their autistic employees. Part of that may be due to the fact that they're not just set adrift in the workplace all alone. Good how was game night?
Fun. Each participant in the program is assigned a mentor from within the company sort of like an on-site guardian angel. So do you feel pretty comfortable and good to go?
So far. Gabby Robertson Cauley who has a cousin on the spectrum volunteered to work with Gloria. I think it's just the the rewards of getting to be friends with with these colleagues who have autism. It's not something you get in your typical corporate day-to-day experience. Hey Chris.
Microsoft also has mentors. Ready to go get lunch? Yeah. Good. Melanie Carmacino who works with Christopher has a personal connection as well. She has a son who's autistic. What have you taken away from this whole experience personally? Hope. I think that this program gives hope to the autism community.
It gives hope to parents like me and it gives hope to people like my son that a company can and sorry and will look past their differences and see their gifts and and let them contribute to society just like everybody else. This is it. This is my floor. Christopher is now independent living on his own in a high-rise apartment something he's always wanted. I don't want to ask how much you're you're making but you're doing pretty good it sounds like yeah. Yes. Did you ever imagine you'd be making this much money? No I never did honestly I would have been I would have been perfectly happy with like half this half the money I'm making now. He bought a car and drives himself to work and for the first time he says looks forward to arriving at a place where he's accepted for who he is.
Kind of shuffle the deck. He knows there are still challenges ahead but given a chance to prove his worth says Christopher has given him an optimism he never had. If other kids or young adults or adults with autism are watching this what are you what's your message to them?
Don't give up and make sure to always aim high don't aim in the middle you know shoot for the stars every time because you never know what might happen. Before there were podcasts there was television remember see what's new under the sun every Sunday morning. The artwork of the great painter Vincent van Gogh has left one Florida family sort of starstruck not to mention almost homeless. Steve Hartman has their story. Lubeck Jastrebski and Nancy Nemhauser of Mount Dora Florida say it was the strangest thing. They noticed their 25 year old autistic son Chip kept opening the same art book kept turning to the same page and kept staring into the same starry night.
And it seemed to comfort him and given that there is not a whole lot that helps we have to capitalize on whatever we can use. Which is why they hired someone to paint a huge starry night inspired mural on the wall in front of their house. Chip loved it the city did not. Last year this citation showed up at the door it said graffiti is prohibited and until the van Gogh was van gone the family could be fined as much as 250 a day up to the value of the house. First I thought it was a prank and then I thought it was a mistake. So they asked the code enforcement officer which is it?
What do we have to do to fix this? And she said the wall has to match the house. You know she meant for you to repaint the wall to match the house. We followed the instructions.
They did follow the instructions. Today the wall definitely matches the house but despite their cynical compliance or perhaps because of it the couple's legal problems only intensified. Next the city said the mural needed to come down for a second reason. It violated a signed ordinance. A sign. That was their new argument. This is a sign.
Yeah that's a sign. Mount Dora mayor Nick Jerome. A violation of a signed ordinance based on the fact that it had squigglies. It had squigglies squigglies. Define that for our audience.
As one of the circle. Oh yeah van Gogh did a lot of those. This is what the family was up against.
Oh my gosh. Which is why even though they knew their son would be disappointed Nancy and Lubeck almost painted it over in surrender white. And the turning point for you I think was when a young girl offered her allowance to help us to fight to keep the mural. Even if it was the house so be it. To Lubeck especially the mural had become a first amendment issue and eventually the city saw it that way too.
Last month the mayor conceded and publicly apologized to the benefit of all concerned. Today those once scorned squiggles are now a tourist attraction with people visiting from around the world. Why do you think people are drawn here?
It's very seldom when two crazy people are willing to lose the house. One make that one. Freedom of speech on full display under this sun-splashed starry night. Coming soon Mobituaries a podcast on matters of death and life from Mo Rocca. Good clean fun of a musical sort is what Connor Knighton found on a recent journey.
Welcome to the market now ladies and gents got an hour to kill and some instruments. For serious players of the washboard although good luck finding one who's all that serious. A trip to Logan Ohio is like a pilgrimage. The annual washboard music festival is a chance to celebrate the small town's most unusual small business. Logan is home to the last washboard manufacturer left in America.
I just don't want to part with it and we'll keep it going as long as we can we just want to keep it alive for the history. I have all of the old machinery. Jackie Barnett has always had a thing for old machinery and old traditions.
She grew up in New Zealand but moved to Ohio in 1980. She was working as a seamstress when she got a call about a business opportunity that might be right up her alley. A friend in Columbus called us and said there's this really neat business going to close down and we think you and your husband should look at it and we asked him what it was and he said a washboard company and I'm like everybody else I said washboards. The Columbus Washboard Company was founded in 1895. Keep in mind washboards were once how everyone from housewives to Buster Keaton did their laundry.
At its peak the company was shipping over a million units a year. They were selling washboards all over the country. There would be trains coming into the back of the factory picking up large shipments of washboards. Everybody used them. And then a new fangled machine came along and changed everything.
She knows the confining hours around the wash tub are a thing of the past. The electric washing machine made scrubbing clothes on a piece of corrugated metal over a pail of water seemed like far too much work. So one by one American washboard factories went out of business. Barnett couldn't resist the opportunity to buy the last one left. But after she took over the business in 1999 and moved it to Logan she started noticing some of her washboard customers had no interest in washing. We're just going to learn the art.
That's how we came down. Do you have any idea what percentage are being purchased for musical use? We believe about 40 percent. The washboard as a musical instrument is believed to have originated on southern plantations when slaves would make music with whatever tools were available. By the 1930s the washboard had found its way into mainstream musical acts like the washboard rhythm kings. At its core it's just metal and wood. Typically played with cymbals to avoid hurting your fingers. All right hold on this is terrible. All right harder than it looks.
Good job. But the washboard as an instrument can also contain a laundry list of accessories. That's from a that's from a washer machine that's from a ice cream cart that's from an ice cream there's an alarm bell this is just a test this is decorative or is this uh well that's a rubber chicken oh you got a noise there and back here that's a duck call Washboard Hank, he wouldn't tell us his real name, makes his living as a full-time washboard musician although he says he does not do it for the money.
No no I don't have a washboard shaped swimming pool if that's what you're asking. No he does it for the response he gets from the crowds. And what are the reactions you get when people see you playing this? They laugh and that's what it's about man.
We start playing and people laugh and kicking up their heels and carrying on and I thought that's a good thing to do. Clearly Jackie Barnett agrees. She now makes boards with stainless steel to stand up to more rigorous playing.
And do some more rubbing until you get it completely clean. But she still makes washboards for washing sometimes for soldiers overseas. So we send them everything that they need including instructions on how to use a washboard all at no charge to the soldiers. It's all done with donations. We can average 150 each a day.
The company also gives popular tours, a chance for visitors to see what life was like before the spin cycle. You know who knows one of these days we might have to use them again and I'll know how. So you're preparing for the washboard apocalypse?
Should that day ever come Logan Ohio will be the town you'll want to head to. Just don't forget to pack your spoons and your thimbles. Twiggy is the name of a fashion model from the past who's still very much in fashion. This morning she looks back at her wild ride of a time with our Martha Teichner. Say Twiggy and Instantly who picture the absolute embodiment of the whole mod British swinging look of the 60s. Quick what's her real name?
Give up. It's Leslie Hornby. I do think the name had a lot to do with what happened in the beginning because Leslie Hornby the face of 66 doesn't have that ring as Twiggy. That was the year the gawky 16 year old with the funny nickname Skip School came here to what was then the House of Leonard the fanciest salon in London and was chosen to have her hair styled. That's where I sat when Leonard cut my hair 50 odd years ago.
The process took seven hours. I went off to have the photograph taken he hung it in the salon I went back to school. This photograph soon spotted by the fashion editor of a London newspaper who on February 23rd 1966 changed the course of Twiggy's life. It was a 10 million 10 billion to one chance this funny skinny little kid becomes a world famous supermodel.
I mean oh come on I don't you know it's like one of those stories. She wasn't like other British models too short working class but the camera loved her spindliness and those huge eyes three layers of false eyelashes on top the lower ones painted on. And I copied that I had a rag doll in my bedroom and she had those painted eyes. Like a raggedy Ann.
Yeah like a raggedy Ann. Practically overnight she was an international sensation when she got on an airplane for the first time in her life and flew to the United States in 1967. It was like the Beatles all over all over again. There were like mob scenes at the airport and photographers.
It was weird. On a fashion shoot one photographer handed out Twiggy masks as a form of crowd control. Her boyfriend turned manager Justin de Ville Neuve did a lot of the talking. I think she's very beautiful and in front of a camera she projects her personality. Although she says she ate like a horse Twiggy came across as very thin and very shy.
How would you describe yourself? She's worked with a who's who of the world's most famous photographers. This book a sampling of their work. In it the girl becomes a woman. But it's what she's done since those lucky early days as a model that Twiggy is most proud of.
She won two Golden Globes for her performance in the 1971 film The Boyfriend. It was like going into the secret garden. It was like oh my god this is fabulous.
I love it. Record albums followed. Six books and two years on Broadway alongside theater legend Tommy Tube in the Gershwin musical My One and Only. She was nominated for a Tony.
You've got lovely eyes. Do you know that Ronnie Bloom? Shooting the 1988 movie Madame Suzotska she met her husband of 30 years actor director Lee Lawson. Ladies I bring you Twiggy. For five seasons she was a judge on America's Next Top Model. Greetings from England.
There you go. And there's her successful clothing line for I conic British retailer Marks and Spencer. I did my first perfume two years ago and I've done a lovely green eye pencil and a blue one. Perfume, makeup, clothing, books, films, records, theater, and modeling. That's nine careers.
You only come here once. At 68, yes Twiggy is 68, she wears it all well. No plastic surgery for her.
I'd be too frightened because I don't like the idea of having anesthetic and I don't particularly like that look. Anyway she does like what's become of the face of 1966. Well it's funny I always say you know that little face that doesn't go away because wherever I go in the world there's usually a t-shirt or a handbag or you know I think of her as like this little person that sits on my shoulder. She's like my little friend. I'm Lee Callan. Thanks for joining us. We hope you'll be back when our trumpet sounds again next Sunday morning. New Hampshire is a surprise. In New Hampshire people really just kind of don't like Maggie Hess. For more from this week's conversation follow the Takeout with Major Garrett on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts.
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