Because the words we use shape the way we think, when looking through the lens of the word “disabled,” we tend to think about what’s missing in a person. As a result, we often miss seeing the unique capabilities these people have. The goal of The Uniquely Abled Project is to shift the paradigm of thinking from “disabled” to “uniquely abled”. It starts by preparing people with high functioning autism to take on high performing jobs in the workplace through an innovative job-training program appropriately called, The Uniquely Abled Academy.
About the Project
Shifting the paradigm of thinking from
“disabled” to “uniquely abled”.
The Uniquely Abled Academy is a first-of-its-kind collaboration between educators, specialists in education for those with autism, representatives from state and local social service agencies, and non-profit and for-profit organizations. This exceptional combination is dedicated to properly train, place in the workforce and provide on-going support for qualified students seeking skill-specific well-paying jobs across a wide range of industries.
A brief history of UAP
In July 2013, in collaboration with the Exceptional Children’s Foundation (ECF), we began to explore what possibilities would appear if ECF clients were viewed through the lens of “uniquely-abled.” What were they particularly good at? How might these talents be useful to A&D companies?
The answer to the first question was that many were good at repetitive work with clear instructions, work which could not be done solely by a machine (human intervention is required), where they are mostly working as an individual. When we asked A&D companies whether such talents would be useful, we received
a resounding “Yes.” For example, Hawker Pacific Aerospace generates about 5 feet of paper for every one of the 450 landing gears they refurbish annually. To date, this paper has been stored in over 1,000 file cabinets. Hawker received permission from the FAA to scan all these paper files into the cloud to reduce storage costs and improve access. This work was ideal for ECF adult clients. Everyone benefited by this Hawker-ECF partnership. The initial three people hired has grown to 12, with 2 working full-time. These individuals might have been on welfare or in a lower-skilled and lower-paid job – but they are now employees of a respected aerospace firm, with benefits combined with pride and motivation.