ICare4Autism’s Global Autism Workforce Initiative

AUTISM WORKFORCE INITIATIVES
Randy Lewis, Keynote Speaker at ICare4Autism’s Conference

The 2014 ICare4Autism International Autism Conference discussed Global Autism Workforce Initiatives on June 30th in NYC. The opening ceremony’s keynote speaker, Randy Lewis, elaborated on the importance of the integration of individuals with disabilities into the workforce. Mr. Lewis, former Executive Vice President of Supply Chain and Logistics at Walgreens, is responsible for a major movement in hiring great numbers of individuals with disabilities and disorders, including autism, giving them an opportunity that had been so difficult for them to attain.

Due in great part to Mr. Lewis, a Walgreens distribution center began to employ individuals with disabilities in 2007. The company specifically created training for managers to create an inclusive work environment for those with disabilities to be able to work alongside all other employees. Currently, over 40% of the facility’s workforce is made up of individuals with a physical or cognitive disability such as autism. Mr. Lewis has established a goal for all distribution centers to have at least 10% of their workforce consist of individuals with disabilities.

Randy Lewis’ motivational remarks set the perfect tone for the rest of the day, as he inspired everyone to have an open mind, and to be more conscious of being more inclusive of those with autism in our workplaces and in communities. With the autism diagnosis rate being so high in the United States, it is absolutely critical for companies to begin initiatives to incorporate autistics into their workplaces immediately. Each individual on the spectrum is incredibly unique, and can be a huge asset to a company that provides an opportunity that fits their particular strengths and interests.

 

ICare4Autism Global Workforce Initiative will have global reach as well as local impact and will include workforce training for adults with autism, ages 18 and up, vocational and employment training services from semi-skilled to high functioning individuals, as well as and specially targeted programs for persons with Asperger’s Syndrome.

We hosted our annual International Autism Conference on June 30th-July 2nd, 2014 in New York City. June 30th was the International Autism Workforce Conference Day dedicated to developing and promoting Autism Workforce Programs. The program included a roundtable discussion that addressed planning the transition from highschool to the workforce, self-advocacy, and how to use the skills of those on the spectrum to best suit workplace needs. Speakers on this day included a keynote address by Randy Lewis, former Walgreens Executive VP of Supply Chain and Logistics, Stephen Shore, assistant professor at Adelphi University and ICare4Autism Advisory Board Member, Marcia Scheiner, president and founder of the Asperger Syndrome Training & Employment Partnership, and Peter Gerhardt, president of Peter Gerhardt Associates, LLC and founding chair of the Scientific Council for the Organization for Autism Research.

This year in the United States alone, the number of 18 year-olds with autism entering into the workforce or higher education will reach 50,000.  ICare4Autism understands the challenges these individuals will face when trying to find proper job training and employment once they finish their education. 

Our solution to this challenge is to enact several initiatives to facilitate transition. ICare4Autism’s Global Autism Workforce Initiative, the world’s first global comprehensive autism workforce development initiative will enable us to   collaborate with and create dynamic major workforce entities to develop the best practices in workforce development internationally and effective transition plans for people with autism and their families.

Along with a dramatic rise in the diagnosis of autism spectrum disorders (A.S.D.) there is a need for greater acceptance of autism within society and diversity in the workforce. Since more employers are aware many people with autism have valuable talents that can benefit their companies, the goal of our initiative is to offer new unique high value-added private sector opportunities to individuals with autism.  It will take significant changes in workplaces across the country to accommodate these individuals.

 


12 Comments

  1. Posted March 11, 2012 at 4:53 am | Permalink

    Dear ICARE4AUTISM,

    I am hoping that this organization comes into full fruition, and that it is the answer to my prayers! I am a mother of a 33 year old High Functioning Autistic daughter, adopted from 2 weeks old, and have a Master of Divinity, Counseling, with special education in Dual Diagnosis. After divorce at mid-life, I have gotten back on my feet via teaching English as a Foreign Language in China and have discovered a strong gifting as a teacher. However, it’s been a lifelong dream to live and work in Israel, so I’m beginning by looking for a program to take in Israel that could give me a new career either there or in the USA as an Autism professional. I’m very interested in ATTENDING THE CONFERENCE (PLEASE SEND INFO), and in learning from you at this time WHETHER THERE IS CURRENTLY AN OPPORTUNITY FOR AN AMERICAN WITH MY HISTORY TO TRAIN WITH YOUR ORGANIZATION??? It sounds like a perfect fit to me. I’m working to learn Hebrew.

    Sincerely,

    Shelley Browne Cadd (EFL Teacher, Shenzhen Poly Technic University, China)

  2. Dita Kohl-Roman
    Posted March 17, 2012 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    I heard about your initiative and would like to congratulate you with lots of good luck on your important mission.

    As a sister of an Autistic man (41 years old) I was recently invited to talk about my personal experience in front of a proffesional crowd (researchers in genetics, phsychiatrists and caretakers), which than led to invitations to lecture on Autism and my personal story by companies and other “non attached” bodies that are interested in this subject.

    I am surprised to see how much information and attention is lacking – even in your presentation – regarding the family, and especially sibllings issue of Autistic children and grown ups.

    I will be happy to receive on-going information from your center and include it in my lectures and talks,

    Kind Regards,

    Dita Kohl-Roman
    Givatayim, Israel

  3. Posted May 5, 2012 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

    I am interested in conducting the Research in Autism and The Autism Scales also

    Sir, Actually I am doing my Doctoral Program in the Autism Evaluation using the Interactive Computer Systems..

    I will be very happy to have some joint research activity with your researchers.

    I am giving my details as follows :-

    mobile No : +91-22-09869258483
    Address :
    31, PARIJAT, ORCHID’S C.H.S.LTD.
    MAJIWADA, THANE -WEST,
    MAHARASHTRA, INDIA
    400601.

    I am working as the Associate Prof. in K.J.Somaiya College of Engineering, Bombay

  4. Shelley Browne Cadd
    Posted May 8, 2012 at 7:37 am | Permalink

    This sounds exactly like what I’ve been working and dreaming toward. I’m a 58 year old parent – an EFL teacher – with an M. Div., Counseling and Addictions Issues. Please send me information on how and when I might come to be trained to enter the Autism Workforce training. Here’s hoping the certificate granted may be in the form of a doctorate.

  5. DEYANIRA LOZANO
    Posted June 20, 2012 at 12:56 am | Permalink

    I am glad that you are working to offer oportunities to people with autism.And when mi child reaches this stage(now he is 5). he will have this chance in life…thank you from the bottom of my heart.

  6. THABITHA OLDJOHN
    Posted July 16, 2012 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    KINDLY SEND ME LIST OF SKILL COLLEGE FOR EMPLOYMENT FOR MY MILD AUTISTIC SON(17YR) IN JOHANNESBURG.

  7. Lisa Owsley
    Posted September 24, 2012 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

    You have a plan for this initiative – so now what?? How will this get implemented? Are you proposing a law?
    I’m a student social worker studying this very topic and would like to know more information regarding what/how/when/who/ for all the pieces to actually happen.
    As a parent of a young adult on the spectrum, it sounds wonderful even in a more rural setting where we could look to industry to help in developing said skills.
    I would appreciate any/all information you could forward to me on this very topic.
    Blessings, L. Owsley, MSW Candidate 2014, University of Houston

  8. Posted July 1, 2013 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    This looks like a great program and we look forward to seeing your success. For additional resources for adults with autism spectrum disorder and aspergers syndrome, please visit http://www.nationalautismnetwork.com.

  9. Muhittin DELİHASAN
    Posted October 21, 2013 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    Hi my dear friends,
    I’m writing from Special Education Training School in Turkiye. All of students are autistic. I’m headmaster of this school. My goal is to meet you, to learn about different methods and techniques for education. My english is not very well, no offense :) yours sincerely

    communication : entic@windowslive.com

  10. Posted November 23, 2013 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

    Head of a Special school in North Wales GB. 50 % of pupils have autism . Just interested to join the global schools enterprise. regards, Ange

  11. ICare4Autism
    Posted November 25, 2013 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    Hi! Be sure to like us on facebook and follow us on twitter @icare4autism to stay updated on the latest ICare4Autism news!

  12. Denis lendrum
    Posted May 8, 2014 at 9:32 pm | Permalink

    Would like to hear the outcome of this event as a g/father of a 10 year old boy.

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