Creative Spirit: Who We Are and What We Do
Welcome to the inaugural newsletter of Creative Spirit! Since this is our first newsletter, we thought it would be a good time to offer an overview of our organizational mission and history.
In 1990 the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) was passed and held the promise that the generation born between then and now would achieve economic security, lead productive more independent lives and halt the generational poverty that plagues caregivers and their families. While ADA was tremendously successful at building infrastructure and establishing basic human rights, ADA alone did not produce the systemic changes necessary to deliver the ramps to more frictionless academic experiences, private and public sector jobs, and clear and straightforward financial government supports that capitalize on ability, not disability. Creative Spirit was born to be the modern on-ramp, the voice of a generation, particularly for those with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDDs), to the productive independent lives they expected and crave.
We began in 2017 in the US as a 501c3 nonprofit created to address one of the most pressing social and economic issues of our time: the staggering 85% unemployment rate among adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). This crisis is even more painful due to the amazing untapped potential, capabilities, and talent of people with disabilities, all of whom have unique stories and perspectives that enrich any organization.
Our research has found that discrimination, stigma, and misconceptions among employers are the biggest barriers to employment success for individuals who are neurodiverse. Creative Spirit’s mission is to ensure employment by educating employers and changing the status quo. We prepare our candidates for employment and connect them with competitive, fair wage positions and provide personalized, one-on-one coaching services.
Since our founding, we’ve made substantial progress, with almost 100% retention for all of the candidates we’ve placed. Our own independent research, compiled in a report titled “#HireDifferent: The DE&I Roadmap to Hiring Neurodiverse Talent” has been extremely insightful. We learned that while hiring is a tremendous priority and diversity goals commonplace for almost all organizations, the reasons for not hiring people with disabilities are dominated by three myths. Myths included: the belief that there is a lack of qualified pipeline, perceived lack of ability among neurodiverse candidates, and that the amount of support needed to support candidates is insurmountable. Fortunately, busting these myths and solving these issues is the reason Creative Spirit was born. In fact, we learned that most employers were extremely enthusiastic and receptive to working with Creative Spirit once they were introduced to our services and learned more about our mission.
Our mission is grounded in proven data on employment among the neurodivergent population. Thirty years after the passage of the American’s with Disabilities Act (ADA), our society has reached an inflection point, where we can continue following the status quo, or achieve a fully inclusive and stigma-free society for individuals with disabilities. Through our expertise, resources, and partnerships with numerous organizations and advocates, we’re working to achieve change not incrementally, but right here and now. We want to reframe the conversation on disabilities to recognize the strengths and talents of people with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDDs) and to empower our candidates with greater confidence and self-esteem. The fact of the matter is that almost all of us will experience having a disability at some point in our lifetime, and if we continue to ignore this crisis and segregate people with IDDs, we will handicap our society for generations to come.
At Creative Spirit, we are working tirelessly to end the stigma attached to having a disability and to empower our candidates with pride in their strengths and capabilities. It is an undeniable fact that most of us will have a disability at some point in our lifetime, and if we continue to ignore this crisis and segregate people with disabilities, we will handicap our society for generations to come.
How You Can Help Us Advance Creative Spirit’s Mission
Above all, we’re driven by the knowledge that neurodiversity can be a strength and an asset for companies, rather than a liability. We believe inspiring employers to embrace that perspective is vital for growth and innovation in our economy. We have a broad bench of advocates and partner organizations at the forefront of business, marketing, media, and technology who are working with us to connect our candidates with fair-wage employment, and to support legislation ending unethical, outdated legislation like 14c, which allows employers to pay workers with disabilities sub-minimum wage. We can’t call ourselves a truly equitable, inclusive society as long as people who are neurodivergent are excluded from the modern world and employment.
Will you join us and commit to making a difference and #HireDifferent today? Contact Marlene Lieberman, Director of Employer Services at email@example.com to help this generation achieve the lives they crave.