3 CEOs Join Forces to Help Get 1 Million People with Special Needs Employed by 2025
Nearly 81 percent of adults with special needs in the United States do not have a paid job in their community, according to National Core Indicators — and the CEOS of three organizations are on a mission to change that.
The chief executives of Autism Speaks, Best Buddies and the Special Olympics are teaming up on a new inclusion campaign called Delivering Jobs, which aims to get one million people with autism, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy and other intellectual and developmental differences employed and in leadership positions by 2025.
The trio is partnering with the Entertainment Industry Foundation to accomplish their goal.
“The next generation to join the workforce is expecting inclusion, and Delivering Jobs is here to help eliminate biases and create pathways to employment for this overlooked population,” Special Olympics CEO Mary Davis said in a statement.
Delivering Jobs will operate with three different goals in mind, the first being to give people with special needs the resources they need to prepare themselves for jobs and leadership opportunities.
The campaign will also target employers by pushing them to hire and support people with intellectual and developmental differences. Finally, the third goal is to increase awareness and better inform the public about the low rate of employment people in the community face.
“We’ve seen firsthand the positive impact of inclusive employment on businesses of all sizes, and through this campaign, we hope to facilitate and normalize the recruitment and management practices, providing the resources for these workers to thrive,” Autism Speaks President and CEO Angela Geiger said.
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Anthony Shriver, founder, chairman, and CEO of Best Buddies, acknowledges that one million people is a lofty goal, but told ABC News that it can easily be accomplished if all companies and government agencies hire people with special needs for just 1 percent of their available jobs.
“[These people] definitely have the ability, the issue is that’s not always seen by the employer,” Davis told ABC.
The Delivering Jobs website, in addition to outlining its goals, provides resources for employers, like a self-assessment to determine how inclusive and accessible their workplace is, plus a pledge to re-evaluate hiring practices, increase hiring efforts and create inclusive support systems.