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SSI Recipients CAN work - Cornell University Yang & Tan Institute

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SSI Recipients CAN work - Cornell University Yang & Tan Institute

Cornell University’s Yang-Tan Institute advances equal opportunity for people with disabilities in partnership with federal and state government and philanthropic organizations.

I am looking forward to the day when Dustin Sweeney is earning a paycheck from his job. However, that brings complications in terms of his Social Security and other benefits. This webinar by Ray Cebula of Cornell University’s Yang-Tan Institute on Employment and Disability starts to answer those questions on how to keep your SSI benefits while you work. It is a complicated conversation, and it is only the start of the conversation.

To help navigate this process, Dustin Sweeney and our Developmentally Disabled population have access to a “Benefits Planning Agency” which can be found at:

Social Security Administration’s “Ticket To Work”

PS - Yes, I know we need less rather than more agencies in the navigation of this Self-Direction world, but this is where we are today.


Here is the slide presentation from the webinar, and below that is a streaming link:


“SSI Recipients Can Work” - Streaming Link: http://edimedia.org/tiny/kk8av

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Rising Tide U - 7 Ways Autism Makes a Business Better

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Rising Tide U - 7 Ways Autism Makes a Business Better

Molly Sebastian of Invictus Enterprises seems to know everything and everyone in the Autism employment universe. Molly introduced me to Rising Tide U, which came out of the now famous (in the Autism world) Rising Tide Car Wash in Florida. They have created “7 Ways Autism Makes a Business Better”, and they have an online course. The advantages they list from their experience at the Rising Tide Car Wash are:

  1. Following Processes and Rules;

  2. Safety;

  3. Eye for detail;

  4. Turnover;

  5. Culture of Service;

  6. Media and Word of Mouth; and

  7. Loyal Customers.


Cornell University’s Yang and Tan Institute is also working on these same issues:

The Yang-Tan Institute advances equal opportunity for people with disabilities in partnership with federal and state government and philanthropic organizations.

In addition, in NY State, there are these Tax Credits and Benefits to employers. 


Rising Tide is a scalable conveyorized car wash dedicated to the empowerment of individuals with autism. 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 and independent living skills and self-advocacy training.
— Rising Tide Car Wash

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Jobs, Jobs, Jobs - CBS Sunday Morning, Cornell ILR, Invictus, and SNACK 21+

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Jobs, Jobs, Jobs - CBS Sunday Morning, Cornell ILR, Invictus, and SNACK 21+

Yang Tan Institute @ Cornell University

In the fall of 2017, I attended a conference in NYC put on by the Yang Tan Institue at Cornell University's School of Industrial and Labor Relations (ILR). The conference highlighted a number of "higher functioning Autistics" OUTPERFORMING their peers in the corporate world due to the Autistic's ability to focus, their loyalty, and their retention rates.

We help make possible the full participation of people with disabilities in the workplace, the community, and society.
— Cornell ILR - Yang Tan Institute

CBS Sunday Morning - video

My sister sent this video to me, and it is reflective of the changing attitudes towards Autistics in society and the workplace. At the end of the day, we live in NYC, and this is America. Much of our individual identity is driven by the jobs and careers that we have and pursue. Why should Dustin Sweeney not have that opportunity?

This CBS Sunday Morning piece had some great stories of higher funtioning Autistics on "The growing acceptance of autism in the workplace":


Yes, these were higher functioning Autistics in the CBS story. Our son would not fit in this story, but this is a growing trend, see Cornell.

Again, Dustin Sweeney would not fit into these corporate programs as they exist today, but a number of panelist remarked how their contracts were starting to require outside contractors to have a percentage of Special Needs workers. 

Dustin Sweeney could be a Professional Baker down the road, see Invictus:


Invictus Enterprises

Dustin Sweeney will enter the workforce in 2019, and these corporate programs are too advanced for Dustin.  However, he is now in training to be a Baker at Invictus' NoBones About It. It is an awesome program:


Many of Dustin's friends have graduated from Hawthorne Country Day School and are now working as Coffee Grinders and Packagers at SNACK's 21+ Coffee Factory

I am amazed at the progress that I am seeing in the employment arena for the Developmentally Disabled in the past six months. 

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