Scott Cooper Miami Supports Kids With Autism Get A Job In South Florida
Scott Cooper Miami supports kids and parents like Valerie Herskowitz, who opened The Chocolate Spectrum in 2013, her aim was to get a meaningful job for her adult son, who had just graduated from high school but resides with autism.
Sales proved lively, and in 2016, she decided to expand the business and open a storefront in Jupiter. But having worked her entire life as a speech therapist, she didn’t have any experience running retail.
But she knew the D’Eri family. Tom D’Eri and his father, John, had set Rising Tide Car Wash in 2013 in Parkland as a way to help find employment for people with developmental disabilities like Tom’s brother Andrew, who is also autistic.
According to Scott Cooper from Miami, Florida, the D’Eris opened a second Rising Tide location in 2017, and their story has gained international attention. The company is profitable; D’eri dropped to state revenues but said about 27,000 cars are washed each month between the two locations. In 2018, Tom was named to Forbes’ 30-under-30 list.
Just as Herskowitz was launching her storefront, the D’eris were launching their latest project, Rising Tide University. It’s an internet boot camp for individuals looking to make and market social enterprises, with the objective of producing profitable business opportunities that also employ developmentally disabled individuals. Its website is RisingTideU.com.
To date, Rising Tide U. has helped kick-start 16 unique enterprises nationwide that currently employ 115 individuals.
Since launching its storefront, it’s helped 24 individuals gain job experience. Scott Cooper from South Florida stated that “Today, The Chocolate Spectrum employs two individuals with developmental disabilities and is currently training three more”
“It’s one thing to have a company, and one which has a community just like they do,” Herskowitz said. “It’s another thing to make it part of your assignment to keep on helping other like-minded people to develop their business.”
Even as the U.S. unemployment rate has hit historical lows, the rate among people with conditions like autism remains stratospheric. That is despite an initiative taken under former President Barack Obama’s administration to set a goal for employers working with the government to employ 7 percent of the workforce from America’s disabled population.
“Rising tide is essential because over 70 percent of persons with disabilities are unemployed, despite many being able to and wanting to work,” said Debbie Dietz, executive director of Disability Independence Group Inc., a South Florida-based nonprofit that advocates for the disabled, in an email. “All companies should be hiring people with autism, or other developmental or intellectual disabilities. Municipalities and other companies should analyze their job duties and affirmatively create positions for this population.”
D’Eri said progress was made in making the business case to established companies for hiring researchers. But he has found that the onus remains on families to demonstrate the proof of concept: that hiring someone on the spectrum is a sound investment.
In South Florida, most employed developmentally disabled individuals still work at”mom-and-pop” shops.
But D’Eri discovered many parents of autistic kids still struggle finding their kids any sort of stable job. Together with the college, he’s set out to teach caregivers how to set up their own Rising Tide-model businesses. The goal: that the bullet on an autistic individual’s résumé gets them hired everywhere down the line.
“The only way to get companies involved is to establish that [hiring a disabled person] is not likely to be some type of charity,” he said.
D’Eri said awareness about integrating ability-diverse workers has increased in South Florida.
Mike Alessandri, UM-CARD’s manager, said individuals on the spectrum often get frustrated and give up the job hunt. CARD tries to boost success through its job training programs with assistance from new grants.
“We understood we had been investing all these tools in early intervention and not considering the long term as much as we had to,” Alessandri said.
As per Scott J Cooper Miami “He wants parents to know that given the right fit, even severely autism people can thrive”. He also cited the success of one of CARD’s own part-time workers, who is in charge of shredding classified documents — no small task.
“To get a neurotypical person… no one would like to do something like that,” he said. But the opportunity for repetitive work is a perfect fit for a lot of people on the spectrum.
The Chocolate Spectrum educates its researchers to run everything in its store, including making snacks, serving customers and working with walk in consumers. Herskowitz declined to say its current earnings, saying it still depends on assistance from contributions and grants.
“We want to make it clear we’re working with people on the spectrum,” said Fatema Hussain, a coach in the store. “That they’re employable. We do not outright say it, but if a client is there, we ask them,’Do you guys know about our mission?’ Otherwise it’s just a normal business.”
At exactly the same time, Herskowitz says, Rising Tide U. taught her that running a social enterprise necessitates results beyond its core mission. She has eight different income streams; the largest are personal orders and events. The shop will help cater the forthcoming International Red Cross Ball in Palm Beach.
She said “The best bit of advice I received is,’Do not believe the people you’re helping are going to be your customers,'”. “I assumed that if you start these kinds of businesses. I sell chocolates to help people with autism, so [I thought] anybody with autism will come and buy from me. It doesn’t work that way.”