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Calls to Action

Small Business Initiative Town Hall Meetings

Advancing the Role and Impact of Small Businesses in Employing Adults with Autism

Small businesses and entrepreneurs play an integral role in local communities with respect to hiring adults with disabilities, including autism. These organizations have a significant opportunity to make a direct impact on creating potential pathways for the generation of teens that will soon enter adulthood as well as for those adults with autism who are currently looking for meaningful work.

Through a generous grant from the Ireland Family Foundation, Autism Speaks has been able to work collaboratively with Extraordinary Ventures on a new initiative entitled Advancing the Role and Impact of Small Businesses in Employing Adults with Autism. Autism Speaks is hosting Town Hall-style meetings in nine different cities across the U.S. to help spread the word about these businesses and engage members of each community in a dynamic discussion about the opportunities that small businesses have in their local areas.

Find a Town Hall Near You! Click on the puzzle piece locations to learn more!

Miami St Louis Boston New York Philadephia Evanston Denton Scottsdale Los Angeles

More Background on the Small Business Initiative

From January to June 2013, information about small businesses that employ individuals with autism was collected throughout the country via Autism Speaks field staff, small business reports, national and state disability organizations, supported employment consulting firms and other stakeholder groups.  Information was secured about more than 70 potential candidates from across the United States.

These nine Town Hall-style meetings are designed as a next step to spread the word about small businesses employing young adults and adults with autism. We hope to engage members of each community in a dynamic discussion about the opportunities that small businesses have in their local areas.  We aim to encourage others to think outside of the box in terms of the employment opportunities available to adults with ASDs, or to create their own small businesses and motivate current business owners to consider employing individuals with autism if they have not already done so.  The businesses we are highlighting were selected to show a cross-representation of industries and business models, and we hope we can facilitate lively and productive discussions about what is possible.

For more information about the efforts of Autism Speaks in the area of employment, including a summary of the 2012 Employment Think Tank and the Employment Tool Kit, click here.