Nonprofit Wants To Create 130K Jobs For People With Disabilities
A new effort with the backing of some major names in the advertising industry is launching with an ambitious goal: create 130,000 jobs for people with developmental disabilities by 2020.
Leaders of several New York advertising agencies are coming together to form the nonprofit Creative Spirit, which will work to grow employment opportunities for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities at advertising, media, marketing and technology firms across the country.
The group is looking to make a dent in what they say is an estimated 8 million Americans with intellectual and developmental disabilities who lack integrated employment.
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“This is a global crisis, and likely the most profound human rights employment issue of our time, yet it goes unsolved,” said Laurel Rossi, co-founder and CEO of Creative Spirit and chief marketing officer at the marketing agency Rauxa. “We believe that if the private sector comes together with its collective voice — and with the use of technology — that we can solve this problem at scale.”
Creative Spirit is launching this week with a series of activities at Advertising Week in New York where an initial campaign to promote the nonprofit was unveiled. Plans include a $200,000 media push to create awareness of the need for integrated employment at fair wages for people with developmental disabilities.
The idea for Creative Spirit originated in Australia in 2009. Earlier this year, two people with developmental disabilities were hired at Rauxa’s New York and Costa Mesa, Calif. offices as a pilot program in this country.
Already, those behind Creative Spirit say they have more than 50 employers including A&E Networks and the advertising agencies Fallon, Joan Creative and Deutsch who are looking to offer positions. The nonprofit said it will provide employment specialists and other supports to help participating companies effectively incorporate new hires with autism, Down syndrome and other disabilities.
Those with developmental disabilities who are interested in finding a job can sign up on the group’s website to learn about available opportunities.
“There are few times when you can truly impact the industry status quo. We have that opportunity — right here, right now — with the launch of Creative Spirit, and we are really proud to bring the cause to life in North America,” said Andy Bird, chief creative officer at the advertising agency Publicis New York.