About

The Uniquely Abled Project (UAP) is a groundbreaking, first-of-its-kind collaboration with the business community. Our focus is the creation of vocational opportunities for the uniquely abled by matching their unique abilities to jobs in demand. We are different from other jobs programs, because we have a business conversation with companies and provide an extraordinary solution to a need that businesses have. We are not asking them to “help the handicapped.”

The UAP enables those with a diagnosis to have the possibility of a career that is meaningful and provides income, dignity and purpose while filling a major need for employers. Our exceptional partnerships with educators, autism specialists, and representatives from state and local social service agencies have enabled us to create programs that properly train, place and provide ongoing support for autistic students seeking well-paying jobs across a wide range of industries.

Our Mission

At a higher level, we strongly believe that people with disabilities should not be perceived as “disabled”, but instead, “uniquely abled” and we are working diligently to change this paradigm in society, starting with individuals who have high functioning autism.

What the world does not realize is that about 40 percent of those with an autism diagnosis have average to above average intellectual abilities, mostly seen in individuals with high functioning autism. These uniquely abled folks often have exceptional abilities in visual and academic skills that when properly utilized make them productive, valuable contributors of the workforce.

History

In July 2013 we began collaborating with the Exceptional Children’s Foundation (ECF), an organization that offers a full continuum of lifespan services for children and adults with developmental disabilities and other special needs.

We began to explore what it would look like if ECF clients were viewed through the lens of “uniquely-abled”, instead of “disabled”. What were they particularly good at? How might these talents be useful to businesses?

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. With that in mind, we began asking Aerospace and Defense companies whether such talents would be useful, and we received a resounding “Yes.” That was all the encouragement we needed to get started.

One of our first placements for ECF adult clients was Hawker Pacific Aerospace. 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 and produced tremendous results for Hawker. 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, and Hawker has reliable, productive, high quality and happy employees.

Board Members

Yudi Bennett

Co-Founder and Member of Board of Exceptional Minds

Yudi Bennett is the Secretary of The Uniquely Abled Project.  Ms. Bennett is the co-founder and past director of Exceptional ...

Jay Phillips

General Manager, Haas Factory Outlet

Jay Phillips is currently employed by Haas Automation, a manufacturer of CNC Machines. The Uniquely Abled Academy is currently teaching ...

Scott Bowling

President & CEO, Exceptional Children's Foundation

Scott Bowling is the Chief Executive Officer of the Exceptional Children’s Foundation and has experience in managing non-profit organizations, programs ...

Jim Watson

President & CEO, California Manufacturing Technology Consulting

Jim Watson is currently the President and Chief Executive Officer of California Manufacturing Technology Consulting.  He brings knowledge on manufacturing ...

Evan Ingwers

Vice President, Aerospace & Defense Coverage, Wells Fargo Bank

Evan Ingwers is the Treasurer of The Uniquely Abled Project.  Mr. Ingwers is currently a Vice President for Wells Fargo’s ...

David Viar

Superintendent/President, Glendale Community College

David Viar is Superintendent/President of Glendale Community College, the location of the first Uniquely Abled Academy.  Previously Dr. Viar served ...

Simon Lopez

Vice President, Workforce & Career Development, Goodwill/Southern California

Simon Lopez is Vice President, Workforce & Career Development, at Goodwill/Southern California, where he is responsible for leading the organization’s ...

Ivan Rosenberg

Founder and President, The Uniquely Abled Project, Managing Partner, InVista Associates, and Co-Founder and Executive Director, The Aerospace & Defense Forum

Ivan Rosenberg is the founder and President of The Uniquely Abled Project.  He is the father of two children, both ...

What employers say about the Uniquely Abled Project