(Tampa, FL) — October 5, 2012 — Art for Autism and Artistas Café are participating in National Disability Employment Awareness Month, an annual awareness campaign led by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP).
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is the fastest growing developmental disability with 1 in every 88 children born in the U.S. today receiving this diagnosis. Because people with ASD often have difficulty with communication and social interactions, job interviews can be very challenging, and the unemployment rate for people with autism is estimated to be as high as 90%. However, according to Vicky Westra, founder of Art for Autism and it social enterprise Artistas Café, with the proper training, many individuals with autism make outstanding employees.
Artistas Café, located inside the Mercedes-Benz of Tampa dealership, is a first-of-its-kind espresso bar that fosters a disability-friendly work culture. The café offers an innovative workforce development program for young adults with autism, resulting in meaningful employment at the café.
“Art for Autism and Artistas Café are proud to be a part of this year’s National Disability Employment Awareness Month,” said Westra. “We want to spread the important message that a strong workforce is one inclusive of the skills and talents of all individuals, including individuals with disabilities.”
The purpose of National Disability Employment Awareness Month is to provide information about disability employment issues and celebrate the many and varied contributions of America’s workers with disabilities. This year’s theme is “A Strong Workforce is an in Inclusive Workforce: What Can YOU Do?”
Employers and employees in all industries can learn more about how to participate in National Disability Employment Awareness Month and ways they can promote its messages — during October and throughout the year — by visiting the ODEP website at www.dol.gov/odep/.
About Art for Autism and Artistas Café
Founded in 2007, Art for Autism is a non-profit organization based in Tampa, Florida dedicated to offering art programs, job skills training, and employment opportunities for individuals diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. For information about opening an Artistas Café in your place of business, sponsorship opportunities or details about Art for Autism’s programs, please call (813) 251-2787 or visit www.artforautism.org and www.artistascafe.com.