MIAMI, Aug. 3, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Pioneers in the field of human resources and the study of neurodiversity will gather at the #TRAILBLAZING2017 Conference in Ft. Lauderdale on September 30 to explore opportunities to learn, understand and appreciate how persons with neurological differences can be an asset to the workforce in a one-day, business-to-business, global conference. The second annual Trailblazing event will create a forum to share best practices and case studies from leading diversity and inclusion leaders and advocates across a number of top companies and organizations.
According to the National Symposium on Neurodiversity at Syracuse University, neurodiversity is a concept which espouses that atypical neurological differences are to be recognized and accepted as any other type of human difference. The term has gathered momentum in the autistic community and is spreading beyond it to include groups identified with other disability categories, including learning disabilities and intellectual disabilities such as Down syndrome. #TRAILBLAZING2017 is designed to connect members of the business community and the neurodiverse community to promote open discussion about how to impact meaningful employment of persons with neurological differences and what it means to create opportunities for them that generate value for employers. While the neurodiverse have qualifications to join the workforce, challenges exist for them to do so in meaningful employment. For example, the American Academy of Pediatrics estimates that nearly 35% of all adults with autism attend college, yet the unemployment rate of college graduates with autism is 85%. And, although the latest survey results show that 57% of people with Down syndrome are employed, they are largely employed in jobs that greatly underutilize their skills and in positions that do not focus on their abilities and interests.
"Businesses around the globe have made inclusive hiring of neurodiverse individuals a priority, because it is simply a good business decision. #TRAILBLAZING2017 will inspire, educate, and guide business leaders, educators and HR professionals on how to make this issue not only their personal priority, but also a business priority," said Alexai Perez, #TRAILBLAZING2017 event director.
Speakers and panelists at #TRAILBLAZING2017 serve as a critical piece of the education, inspiration and guidance for the business community at large – to help others see the neurodiverse as a value proposition to the workforce. Panels will include examples of meaningful and sustainable work as well as employment initiatives and discussions around solutions and additional ideas. The conference will feature presentations by leading human resources and neurodiversity experts, including:
- Dr. Temple Grandin, renowned neurodiversity advocate and Professor of Animal Science, Colorado State University
- Amy C. Cosper, CEO, Radical Upstarts & Former Editor-in-Chief, Entrepreneur Magazine
- Jose Velasco, Global Lead, Autism at Work SAP
- Dr. Stephen Shore, world renowned inclusion expert and Professor of Special Education, Adelphi University
- Taryn Williams, Supervisory Policy Advisor, U.S. Department of Labor
- Susan Mazrui, Director Public Policy, AT&T
"There is no end to the possibilities that exist for people with neurological differences. The challenge is finding a voice and being heard so that people in the business community can better understand what it means to the creative process, to business and to opportunities," indicated Amy Cosper, CEO of Radical Upstarts.
Discussion topics for the conference, which will be hosted by the executive director of the UM-NSU CARD Center Dr. Michael Alessandri and actress Eileen Grubba, include:
- Changes in today's labor pool and the growing number of individuals with neurological differences entering the workforce
- The range of jobs that match the skills of individuals with neurological differences
- The reasons why hiring individuals with neurological differences makes good business sense
- How inclusion diversifies and builds the workplace
- Groundbreaking recruitment initiatives that focus on employee strengths and the accessibility tools and career development programs that enable success and support growth
- Innovation as a key driver to inclusion and the universal benefits of accessible design
- Approaches, consulting and training resources available to corporations seeking a disability inclusive culture.
"The entertainment industry has an immense ability to influence public perception and acceptance of individuals with neurological and physical differences," said Eileen Grubba, advocate and cast member of the TV series Sons of Anarchy and Game of Silence. "I want to encourage my colleagues in the entertainment and advertising world, to include people with neurological differences and challenges regularly in their commercials, TV shows and films, allowing them to be viewed as a normal part of society."
Conference participants will include executives of top corporations actively recruiting adults with neurological differences, corporate disability employment consultants, enterprising micro-businesses, self-employed individuals, corporate-based accessibility teams, assistive technology developers and leading inclusion experts from around the world.
"#TRAILBLAZING2017 will challenge every audience member to help establish inclusive hiring as a standard way of business and culture in the workplace. This will not only compel the business community to move away from a charitable approach, but it will also help them recognize the value proposition, and it will increase meaningful work options for our neurodiverse community. In short, everyone has the right to choose and shape what meaningful employment is for them," added Perez.
Conference tickets are available for purchase at www.ticketmaster.com. Prices range from $99 for VIP preferred seating, $75 for General Seats, $35 for Student Seats (with valid ID at Box Office). Group tickets (10 or more attendees) are available for $60 by calling the groups sales office at 954.660.6307. For more information, please visit www.trailblazing2017.com and follow us on Facebook (@TrailblazingEV).
#TRAILBLAZING2017 is a one-day only, business-to-business, global conference event on meaningful employment for the neurodiversity community taking place September 30, 2017 at the Amaturo Theater at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Fort Lauderdale. #TRAILBLAZING2017 is designed to connect the business community to the disabilities community to create opportunities to learn, understand and appreciate neurodiversity as an asset to the workforce. Meaningful employment is not charity. It's about seeing the talent neurodiversity can bring to the workforce.
ABOUT UM-NSU CARD
Part of all proceeds benefit University of Miami - Nova Southeastern University Center for Autism & Related Disabilities (UM-NSU CARD), a state-funded resource and support program dedicated to improving the lives of individuals with autism and related disabilities. As a policy, UM-NSU CARD does not endorse specific programs, providers, or approaches.