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Autism Employment Policy Discussion and Reception

APRIL 9, 2019

Congressman Mike Kelly and Congressman Thomas Suozzi wish to cordially invite you to attend a reception and discussion highlighting the benefits of hiring young adults on the autism spectrum. This will include a showing of the documentary film, “This Business of Autism”. The film emphasizes the need for federal investment in supporting inclusive employment opportunities and the societal benefits of providing meaningful employment for those on the spectrum. It is estimated that 70% – 90% of adults with autism are unemployed or underemployed, and that 500,000 adults with autism will become workforce age in the next ten years. With an estimated cost of over $2,000,000 to house and care for each person with autism throughout their lifetime, this is truly a looming societal crisis.

Before the film begins, Congressman Kelly along with the Congressional Autism Caucus will discuss their current policy initiatives to achieve these supports. After the film concludes, we will host a brief question and answer to further discuss the need for federal policy to address the autism community.

This event will take place in the Congressional Auditorium at the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center (CVC 200) at 6:00 PM on Tuesday, April 9th. Admission is free, and there will be a complimentary reception of light hors d’oeuvres and non-alcoholic drinks in the Congressional Atrium (limited to 200 guests) with capacity for an additional 250 guests in the auditorium for the film (total capacity 450).

Schedule

  • 4:30 PM Reception (Atrium)
  • 5:30 PM Remarks
  • 6:00 PM “This Business of Autism” Documentary Film (Auditorium)
  • 7:40 PM Q&A
  • 8:15 PM Networking
  • 9:00 PM Venue Closes

RSVP registration required.

We hope you will join us!

Warm regards,

Congressman Mike Kelly & Congressman Thomas Suozzi

ADMISSION IS FREE, SPACE IS LIMITED, REGISTER HERE TODAY!

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Synopsis

This Business Of Autism is an expository documentary film about the economic and societal benefits of employing young adults with autism. Spectrum Designs is a custom screen-printing and embroidery business located in Port Washington, New York. 75% of Spectrum Designs’ employees are on the autism spectrum.

Centered on the acquisition, renovation and launch of their new production facility, which will triple their production and staffing capacity, the film will address the positive impacts of developing profitable businesses while leveraging the unique capabilities of adults with autism. By confronting head-on the reality that an estimated 70% to 90% of these adults are unemployed or underemployed, these businesses can also provide large companies with an avenue for corporate social outreach, mitigate the economic impacts on local communities of housing and caring for adults with autism, and provide hope for families that their children might have sustainable, relevant and stimulating employment opportunities.

In addition to exploring the growth and success of Spectrum Designs, the film examines several other themes and initiatives from across the country. The Autism Job Club, a networking and support organization based in San Francisco, illustrates how their group has made significant progress in placing individuals on the spectrum in high-tech Silicon Valley jobs as well as other industries. Mercyhurst University’s Autism Initiative (AIM) program is helping their students acquire not only the hard skills central to their degree, but also the “soft skills” critical in networking and interviewing. The production team traveled to Erie, PA to conduct interviews with students and administrators, and then to New York City, NY to capture the team in action as they toured companies and conducted mock interviews.

Dr. Temple Grandin, a legend in the autism community, makes a special guest appearance in the film as do New York State Senator Elaine Phillips, former New York State Senator Jack Martins, Nassau County DA Madeline Singas, Town of North Hempstead Supervisor Judi Bosworth, and the former California Director of Employment Development Department, Michael Bernick.