#SharedProsperity

The shared prosperity goal captures two key elements: 1) Economic growth, and 2) Equity. Growth is not enough by itself. Improvement in #SharedProsperity requires growth to be inclusive of the less well-off.
— WorldBank.org

THE JOB: As parents of an Autistic son, my wife and I have dreams for Dustin Sweeney and his friends. Dustin has always been very task oriented, and the big question is - How can we apply Dustin's abilities to a work setting as he transitions out of school?

Video #1: Today, Dustin Sweeney is a Professional Dog Biscuit Baker at Invictus Enterprises, and he is getting paid for his work!! Invictus empowers a heretofore untapped work force, and the Team @ Invictus is seizing the day. This video shows what autistic individuals can do in a work setting, and it proves that having a purpose in life creates happiness for the bakers and their parents:

Dustin Sweeney receiving his first paycheck from Alison Berkley & Molly Sebastian! 

Video #2: While the first video offers a feel-good story about the bakery -- we need sales!! The scrumptious artisan dog biscuits are flying 'off the shelves' at the Invictus Online Store, and 'Oscar the Salesman' is selling "NoBones About It" dog biscuits on dog-shop to dog-shop sales calls around New York City:

The "new economy" of Invictus is thriving, and they found supply needed to catch up to demand. To replenish inventory to meet this increased dog biscuit demand, Invictus held a special baking session over Spring Break 2018 in a small industrial kitchen in Manhattan. Here the team was under a deadline and they responded beautifully:

  Fedcap Kitchen - Grand Central

Fedcap Kitchen - Grand Central

  Advent Lutheran Church Kitchen - Upper West Side

Advent Lutheran Church Kitchen - Upper West Side


THE COMMUNITY - Invictus has created the "special sauce" that is very hard to articulate in a Blog post. I often say that "Surfers Healing is my business model" , offering 1-3 day surf clinics for Autistic surfers. Everyone, almost everyone, loves the beach, so that is arguably an easy setting to attract and bring people together to create a community around surf, sand, sun, and fun. But how do you create a community in the "real world" of work? At Invictus, parents, workers, staff, and friends all gather to "bake the biscuits" for 3 hour sessions. In today's world, three hours straight of focusing on one thing is a long time. For the Autistic population, three hours is a REALLY long time. Creating a work-based community may inherently be more challenging to create than one based on surfing...but Invictus is off to a great start:

  Invictus' Moms strategizing next moves outside the kitchen

Invictus' Moms strategizing next moves outside the kitchen

  Team Sweeney gathers @ Invictus' baking session

Team Sweeney gathers @ Invictus' baking session

  #ExtendedFamily - Chrise, Zaarah, Dustin, and Fazie

#ExtendedFamily - Chrise, Zaarah, Dustin, and Fazie


THE PRODUCT - With absolute conviction, I can say that the "No Bones About It" dog biscuits are a great product! Don't buy them to be supportive of Dustin (but thank-you for the support), buy them because they are awesome and your doggies will love them!!


QUESTIONS - Some questions that are now being raised about Invictus include:

  • How far can Invictus take this?
  • How do we turn this into meaningful long-term employment?
  • What will "Inclusion" and "Integration" look like for the Invictus workforce as they leverage their work readiness and learned job skills and integrate into existing business organizations? 
  • How will paychecks co-exist with SD budgets?

My view is that these are all great questions to have in Dustin Sweeney's life. Dustin has always brought "purpose" to our family, but now I am witnessing and excited about his ability to be genuinely purposeful in his own life. The future looks brighter and the vision keeps growing stronger with every baking session at Invictus:

We are excited for the future, and we continue to explore adaptations, modifications, and the use of technology to enable our work force. Invictus productivity is growing with each baking session and we are convinced that the Invictus workforce will become a viable integrated work force that is productive and sought after. #BeUnconquerable
— Alison Berkley & Molly Sebastian: Co-Founders of Invictus
  Molly Sebastian and Alison Berkley

Molly Sebastian and Alison Berkley

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