Place & Purpose

Unemployment of young adults on the Autism Spectrum is simply not a minor issue. With an overall 82% unemployment rate, it affects the US and our population financially, psychologically, and yes, morally. Yet our country has a tradition of empowering those of us who need assistance and resources. It is what makes us unique; it is what enables us to thrive generation after generation.

So why is public discourse so muted? Perhaps the reason lies in the assumption that the issue does not touch the everyday lives of most Americans or the numbers affected by this issue seem so small. But hard data seems to indicate otherwise.

According to the CDC, it is estimated that 1 in every 45 young children are diagnosed with some form of Autism Spectrum Disorder. That is greater than 2% of the US population. Healthcare officials are estimating that over 50,000 individuals on the Autism Spectrum turn 18-years-old every year. 50,000. Every. Year. Additionally, many of these individuals rely on the day-to-day help of family, caregivers, and friends. Ultimately, it is estimated that greater than 5% of the US population is touched by the issue.

Financially, the numbers are equally staggering. It is estimated that over $232 billion is spent annually on services for the 3.5 million Americans on the Autism Spectrum. This is a powerful drain on the economy and the finances of many families, especially considering the 82% unemployment rate for these individuals. Meaning, while unemployment rate for young adults on the Autism Spectrum is 16 times greater than the current US unemployment of 5%, they do not have the opportunity to contribute to the local and national economy. Furthermore, of the 18% who are employed, the majority of the workers are underemployed or serially employed.

Considering this information, this is the most shocking and motivating piece of the puzzle: these individuals possess cognitive abilities greater than 52% of the general population. The same population who are burdened with the 82% unemployment rate.

Normally, there would be incredible public outrage at such a high unemployment rate that affects a large and capable population. There would be Congressional hearings or aggressive actions taken by local communities to address the problem. There may be widespread public protests, telethons, or even benefit concerts to raise awareness and solutions.

But, there isn’t.

This makes our work at GiveGood so much more powerful: the mission to create a movement, the hope to offer employment solutions, and the need to give and treat one another with the respect and opportunity we all deserve. We believe that these young people possess the abilities to succeed in the workplace; they only need creative structures and support to achieve what everyone else takes for granted: work, place, and purpose.

GiveGood has begun building the framework that intentionally supports our employees’ personalities, needs, and abilities. We are now adding our businesses that employ these young people and offer our goods to the public. We hope that you find our mission worthy of your admiration, but also our products worthy of your purchase. 

For every dollar that you spend at GiveGood, we promise to continue to grow our company and to provide work, place. and purpose for these young people.  Please go to www.givegoodco.com, check us out, and join our movement.

David Dunavant