By Guest Blogger Jonathan Lucus, Managing Director, The [email protected] at The Arc of the United States
One in 68 children today is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The unemployment rate of adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, including ASDs, is 85 percent. This appalling statistic, coupled with the increase in prevalence of kids being diagnosed, demands action from all sectors of our economy to ensure that people with ASDs are finding appropriate employment at a fair wage, and retaining that job with the proper supports to be successful and have a career of their choosing, just like people without disabilities.
With nearly 65 years of experience working with and serving people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD), including autism, The Arc is launching an exciting new resource called TalentScout for employers to unlock the talents of people with autism in the workplace. TalentScout is s a first-of-its-kind resource toolkit that gives employers essential insight and tools to harness the fullest potential of their employees with autism and lead to higher levels of productivity in the workplace.
People with autism have a lot to contribute in all aspects of our society. In the workplace, their individual, unique talents need to be maximized to benefit both the goals of their employer and their personal desire to have and keep a job that adds meaning to their life. Far too many people with autism are left on the sidelines of our workforce and entities that have recognized the benefits of hiring someone with autism are reaping the rewards. Whether it’s the loyalty that someone with a disability may bring to their employer, or their unique skill set that gets the job done, people with autism are ready for hire.
TalentScout is a valuable resource for government agencies that are working to implement President Obama’s initiative (EO 13548) to hire 100,000 people with disabilities into the federal government workforce and for federal government contractors who need to bring their companies in compliance with the new 503 regulations on employment of people with disabilities.
TalentScout is a unique resource for employers in that its content has been vetted by people with autism and it includes their first-hand accounts and insights as job applicants and employees. It is backed by years of nationwide experience from The Arc’s vast chapter network and by Autism NOW: The National Autism Resource and Information Center.
We’ve gotten great feedback from the business community too:
“TalentScout is an extremely valuable guide. This sets the bar high for employers.” – Jose Velasco, SAP, Head, Autism at Work Program.
“The personal stories and insights took this document to another level.” – Kristie King, Comcast/NBC Universal, Manager, Diversity Recruitment.
TalentScout is one component of The [email protected], which is leading the way in developing innovative workforce solutions for the government and private sector by connecting employers with talented employees with I/DD and supporting the recruitment, on-boarding and retention process.
About The Arc
The Arc advocates for and serves people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD), including Down syndrome, autism, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders, cerebral palsy and other diagnoses. The Arc has a network of more than 665 chapters across the country promoting and protecting the human rights of people with I/DD and actively supporting their full inclusion and participation in the community throughout their lifetimes and without regard to diagnosis.
About the Guest Blogger
Jonathan Lucus is the Managing Director of The [email protected] at The Arc of the United States. In his role, he is responsible for creating social enterprise programs that support businesses in hiring and retaining individuals with I/DD in their companies and for developing workforce programs for The Arc chapter network around the country.
Before coming to The Arc, Jonathan has had over twelve years of program administration experience that has supported marginalized populations that ranged from refugees to under-served women’s populations to at-risk youth. He has overseen national technical assistance programs for the U.S. Office of Refugee Resettlement and created a national job placement and a training agency that has supported refugee populations across the U.S. During this time his work on integration and workforce development was recognized as an international best practice by the U.N. Commissioner for Refugees. He has written language for Congressional legislation that was passed into law and has provided consultation to the United Nations, European Union, Department of State, Department of Health and Human Services, and various countries around the world.
Jonathan is the founder and president of Alexandria West Rotary Club and has been a member of Rotary for over a decade where he has lead humanitarian projects in Russia and Zimbabwe.
He received his MPA from the UNCG, certification of Russian language and culture from Lomonosov Moscow State University, and a BS in Psychology from Greensboro College.
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