Every year 50,000 adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) transition out of high school and into the workforce, yet the unemployment rate grows faster than any other disability. It seems there is a major disconnect concerning adults with ASD and employment, and the resources needed to help are limited.
Families of adults with disabilities are taking the business startup into their own hands. People aren’t comfortable leaving the future in the hands of the government. Long waiting lists for waivers, lack of vocational training, and limited opportunities are inspiring families to become entrepreneurs and ensure their adult children have a job. Here is one creative, successful venture that sprung up in Parkland, Florida.
Rising Tide Car Wash, a scalable “conveyorized” car wash is the brainchild of John D’Eri and his son, Tom D’Eri. Using John’s 20 years as an entrepreneur and Tom’s degree in Economics/Finance from Bentley University, a business was shaped for Andrew, their son and brother who has autism. Andrew graduated from high school without many options for job opportunities. It wasn’t that Andrew couldn’t secure a job, he was just at a disadvantage due to his disability.
Andrew and other individuals with autism have unique strengths that could be used at a car wash. According to the Rising Tide website, “A car wash has favorable labor attributes for many people with autism. The car washing process is largely automated and the tasks are structured and easy to learn. While car washing is process driven by nature and therefore relatively repetitive, there are a variety of tasks that must be done including vacuuming, drying and polishing with some variation such as washing different types of cars. Moreover, many people with autism have a great eye for detail which lends itself perfectly to providing a quality car wash. ”
Social skills are improved on as well. Employees interact with the customers, which provides an opportunity for them to be involved with the community.
Rising Tide Car Wash is the first company created by CanDo Business Ventures. CanDo is a company geared towards creating businesses that provide jobs for adults with autism. John D’Eri started CanDo to create for-profit business opportunities that address the lack of jobs for adults with autism. Rising Tide Car Wash is just the start.
“Each Rising Tide location will have high exposure in the community and provide employment for people with autism through easy to learn, process driven labor. Rising Tide will have strong enough profitability to support a community of people with autism through living wages, career advancement opportunities, independent living skills and self-advocacy training.” according to the Rising Tide Car Wash website.
People should become more aware of businesses like Rising Tide Car Wash and consider using adults with autism in their own businesses. The advantages would be two fold; they would be providing an opportunity for a group of individuals that just need a chance to show what gifts and talents they have, and in return they would get loyal employees which, honestly is a rarity in today’s workforce.