Developmental disabilities is an umbrella term that describes chronic cognitive and/or physical challenges -- such as significant limitations in adaptive behavior -- which makes it difficult for the afflicted to function like everyone else. It is estimated that between 7 and 8 million Americans of all ages experience intellectual disabilities.
Although a federal law -- the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act -- requires that schools provide appropriate programs for students with intellectual disabilities, the transition from high school into the adult world is often catastrophic for young people and their families. But denying these individuals their chance to participate in society, civic life, their communities is even worse. Currently 35% of young adults (ages 19-23) with autism have not had a job or received postgraduate education after leaving high school.
The challenge is that there are no low-interest college loans or tax-free savings plans that cover programs for young people with an IQ over 70. Thus young people identified with autism spectrum disorder (1-in-68 in the U.S.) need a bridge to help them transition from high school to the next step in life.
The Bridge Initiative identifies and solves the gap currently standing between vocational training programs for individuals with disabilities and businesses willing to hire these people. We work specifically with these training programs, learning the ins and outs of their individual curricula and the jobs people within the programs are looking for, then finding jobs that fit these descriptions from businesses in the area. The businesses are presented online, so individuals in a given program can search for jobs as anyone would. The overarching mission is to ensure job-satisfaction for both the employer and employee.
We intend to eventually charge a small sustenance fee to both the program and the businesses, but for now we are trying to work pro bono to get through some major trials.