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WORK IS ESSENTIAL

Is your company neuroinclusive?

Welcome

NEXT for AUTISM is a nonprofit organization that transforms the national landscape of services for people with autism by strategically designing and launching innovative initiatives. Our team is laser-focused on quality-of-life areas that truly promote meaningful impact on the lives of autistic adults and their families in four key areas:
Home
Health & Well-Being
Social
Work

Work is Essential to Living a Fulfilling and Productive Life.

Working-age adults on the spectrum encounter numerous employment barriers, resulting in unacceptable levels of unemployment and underemployment. The diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) movement in corporate America and internationally is gaining ground. There is a growing belief that diversity improves business success and creates a more positive work environment for everyone. At NEXT for AUTISM, we believe work is essential to living a fulfilling and productive life. Autistic adults must have equal access to employment and career choices.
To achieve our goals, we actively engage in workforce initiatives to improve career opportunities for adults on the spectrum.
What is NEXT for DEI?
NEXT for DEI provides companies with the tools and resources they need to be neuroinclusive.
The NEXT for DEI initiative promotes the measurement and reporting of disability employment data, and encourages all companies to start where they are now and commit to progress.
NEXT for DEI shows businesses how to become more inclusive. By promoting transparency with employees, job seekers, and shareholders about disability hiring, we hope to transform the landscape and promote inclusivity for people with disabilities.
Read our white paper: "DEI and Disability: A Glaring Omission."
OPEN WHITE PAPER

FAQ´s

Question #1
How does the promotion of disability inclusion impact the current workforce culture?
NEXT for DEI Answer
It is important to evaluate how this will affect your current workforce. Disability awareness training, implementing universal design techniques, creating or working with the disability Business Resource Group, and self Identification campaigns increases the understanding and awareness for the current workforce. The current workforce comes to understand that their employer values diversity, that disability inclusion improves company culture, and that everyone is to bring their authentic selves to work.
Question #2
We know including disability in in our DEI work is important but how do we know we are "ready?"
NEXT for DEI Answer
Every company is ready, there is no one size fits all when it comes to creating a plan for disability inclusion. We recommend that you create a long-term plan and systematically address your goals - make them attainable! Start where you are comfortable, promote inclusion internally, then create plan for external promotion.
Question #3
Should we include our Disability Business Resource Group in this planning?
NEXT for DEI Answer
There is a famous quote "nothing about us without us” meaning that you should get the thoughts, feelings, and opinions of the group being addressed. The Disability BRG is a great place to start, include them in the development of the plan and get invaluable feedback and guidance.
Question #4
Where is NEXT for DEI information going to be published?
NEXT for DEI Answer
NEXT for DEI will promote companies committed to developing and rolling out a plan for sharing their disability hiring statistics and goal. Ultimately it will be up to each company to decide where this information lives. We recommend on the company website and in their yearly company diversity report.
Question #5
How is NEXT for DEI different from other data collection tools?
NEXT for DEI Answer
NEXT for DEI is not a data collection tool, it is a promotion of inclusive values. We are here to support companies in their journey to promote disability hiring statistics and goals publicly.
Question #6
Why is my company not doing this already?
NEXT for DEI Answer
There are many reasons publicly sharing disability hiring statistics and goals is not prevalent. Fear, embarrassment, bad advice, and a lack of motivation are all contributing factors. Evaluate your companies current priorities and determine how you can become a leader/ role model for other organizaitons.

Assessment

Is your company neuroinclusive? Take the assessment to find out.
NEXT for AUTISM is encouraging companies of all sizes to take the NEXT for DEI Company Self-Assessment. This survey identifies every company’s strengths and opportunities for growth. It is free and short (<5 minutes).

Toolkit

The first step to neurodiversity inclusion is understanding the value and why it makes business sense. Below are free tools and a free downloadable PDF to help your company with making the commitment to including neurodiversity within the workplace. For more free resources, make the official NEXT for DEI commitment.
The Value

Why Should My company participate in NEXT for DEI?

01
Disability is diversity and often ignored and should be included in the DEI Movement.
02
Enhance INCLUSION, Improve culture.
03
EVERY company can start at anytime - Growth is always possible.
04
Transparency is valued by your stakeholders.
05
Promotion of disability inclusion attracts talent with disabilities.
06
Be A leader, set the standard.
Accommodations / Investments
Federal Tax Credits
By employing people with disabilities a company may be eligible for federal tax credits that can offset accommodation costs (Romano 2003)
Average Accommodation Cost
According to JAN 58% of accommodations were free to the company and the rest averaged around $500.
Myth
Providing accommodations for people with disabilities is expensive.
Fact
The majority of workers with disabilities do not need accommodations to perform their jobs, and for those who do, the cost is usually minimal. According to the Job Accommodation Network (JAN), a service from the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy, 58% of accommodations cost absolutely nothing to make, while the rest typically cost only $500. Moreover, tax incentives are available to help employers cover the costs of accommodations, as well as modifications required to make their businesses accessible to persons with disabilities.
Return on Investment

What's the ROI?

Better Financial Performance
Lower Turnover
Key Customer Base
Return on Investment
Improve Financial Performance
Companies that seek to hire people with disabilities report 28 percent higher revenues (Accenture, 2018). Those companies also record higher net incomes and are more likely to have higher shareholder returns than other companies that are less proactive about hiring people with disabilities.
Decrease Absenteeism
For decades we've known that people with disabilities have comparable or below average absentee rates when compared to their typical peers (DuPong Corporation, 1993).
Capture a Key Customer Base
People with disabilities represent $175 billion in discretionary spending (U.S Department of Labor). Businesses that employ people with disabilities are more likely to have customers with disabilities.
Disclosure

Self-Identification

Self - Disclosure
Personally telling your company or someone within your company that you have a specific disability
Self - Identification
The process of identifying yourself as a person with a disability, on a disability disclosure form provided by your employer. Identification is anonymous. Self-identification may be conducted as part of a company's commitment to DEI or for compliance - or both.
Company Culture
Employees comfort disclosing a disability is representative of being comfortable bringing their authentic selves to work. A culture that values diversity will enhance disclosure from employees.
Societal Norms
Disability acceptance varies across cultures. Employers need to work to create an inclusive environment within their company. Always include people with disabilities in education and awareness efforts, they are the in-house experts.
Personal Decision
Disclosure can NEVER be required of an employee. Employers can only encourage disclosure by valuing diversity and promoting an inclusive culture.

What is your Next step?

• Check with your HR department about Self Disclosure
• Get the free Self-Disclosure Government Resources

Education

Benefits OF Disability Training

Knowledge is Power
Companies spend significant resources training their employees. Disability is rarely mentioned in DEI training. When disability education is provided, employees grow and understand that diversity creates a stronger company.
Promote an Inclusive Culture
When the company provides all employees with disability awareness training, it demonstrates diversity is valued. Employees learn that people with disabilities belong.
Improve Understanding of Disabilities
With education, employees grow both personally and professionally. Disability awareness training creates an understanding that disability is part of the human condition.
Address Unconscious Biases
Ableism is real, opportunities to help employees identify personal biases helps each employee grow and address biases that exist simply from lack of knowledge.
Create Universal Acceptance
Companies providing their employees with Disability Awareness Training, including the American's with Disabilities Act, creates an inclusive culture, demonstrates the value of diversity inclusion. Disability awareness supports people with disabilities bringing their authentic selves to work, applying for your open positions, and self-identifying to the company.

WHAT CAN YOU DO NEXT?

• Check with your company training department for options
• Visit NEXT for AUTISM Youtube Channel for free webinars

PLEDGE

Commit Now
Commit to helping your company become neuroinclusive
This work is made possible by The Ramesh and Kalpana Bhatia Family Foundation
The diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) movement in corporate America and internationally is gaining ground. There is a growing belief that diversity improves business success and creates a more positive work environment for employees. Diversity statements abound that are inclusive of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, age, religion, disability, and more. Yet, when you dive in a little deeper, diversity efforts and diversity measurement is typically addressing just two categories: race, ethnicity, and gender. Disability is the largest minority group (World Health Organization, 2020). People with disabilities need to be valued and represented in the current DEI efforts.
NEXT for DEI was created to address these inequities and this work is made possible by the incredible investments of The Ramesh and Kalpana Bhatia Family Foundation.
“As the mother of an autistic teenager, it is a privilege to partner with NEXT for AUTISM as they forge new ground for adults with autism. Their work is changing lives not only in the autism community, but in the community at large. It’s time for autistic individuals to be seen as key components of our society and should be included in conversations around diversity, equity, and inclusion, especially in the workplace.”
Anita Bhatia
Executive Director, Bhatia Foundation

ADVISORY BOARD

NEXT for DEI Advisory Board Members
Hear from some of our advisory board members and their passion for disability inclusion.
"As a parent of a child on the autism spectrum, it is important to me that we recognize and celebrate neurodiversity. I became involved in this project to help ensure that companies have the resources to employ people who can make special contributions that lead to successful outcomes for individual employees and the company as a whole."
Seth Metsch
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Advisory Board
As a diversity, equity, and inclusion talent acquisition practitioner, I believe that the companies that employ a workforce that reflects their customer base are the companies that create better products and services. Equitable employment access is critical for the success of professionals from all backgrounds and experiences. I'm encouraged by the work that NEXT for Autism is engaged in and the influence they have on the employment landscape for neurodivergent professionals.

Contact us

Send us an email