LOS ANGELES, CA – A 22-year-old on the autism spectrum is achieving his dreams while helping others through the Goodwill Project Search program. 

  • Man with autism lands paid internship thanks to Goodwill
  • Goodwill of Orange County Project Search program
  • Goal to help young adults with disabilities

Ethan Marosi is like an onion. There are many layers to him. On the outside, he can seem shy, but if you peel back the layers, you will get to meet the real Marosi.

“I always joke with my coworkers that we should play sad music when cutting onions,” said 22-year-old Marosi, an Irvine resident.

More people are getting to see Marosi for who he really is. 

“He’s much more social and gives better eye contact and is just more relaxed and just seems more mature and to be able to get out there and get a job and be successful which is what every parent wants,” said Nancy Marosi, Ethan’s mother.

She says the people at Bracken’s Kitchen in Garden Grove and Goodwill of Orange County are changing his life. Nancy Marosi says her son went on several interviews for other jobs where he competed against people who didn’t have a disability, which led to rejections. 

Her son is on the autism spectrum. With support from his family at home and his coaches from Goodwill of Orange County and the organization’s Project Search program, he landed a paid internship with the kitchen. 

Project Search is a competitive program where students receive guidance, training and support from coaches who try to expose them to different job fields. Once a student completes the program and demonstrates an interest in the field, their coach will work to pair them up with company or organization for internship and employment opportunities. The goal is to help these young adults living with disabilities a pathway to success. 

Bracken’s Kitchen is an organization that feeds thousands of people facing food insecurity every week.

“That’s definitely one of the things I really enjoy about this. Not only working in the food industry, but really feeling like I’m helping others. And it also makes me feel better about myself,” said Ethan Marosi. 

Sal Diaz is one of Marosi’s coaches from Project Search. He got to know Marosi well over the 11 months they’ve worked together.

“I just couldn’t be any more happy for him. The fact that he found a place here that’s willing to work with him and help him continue to grow as a person,” said Diaz.

His attention to detail and his willingness to work hard are just two things that caught the attention of Bracken’s Kitchen’s executive chef, Jerry Babcock.

“To have someone come in as Ethan, it’s inspiring, to you know that I could have some sort of impact on somebody who is trying to find their way in life,” said Babcock.

As much as Ethan enjoys chopping onions, he says he loves being in the kitchen with people who make him feel like he’s part of the culinary team. Bracken’s Kitchen hired Marosi after a week of training.