Why create a 7-acre farm with gardens, therapy alpacas, and a retail shop as a job training program for teens and young adults on the autism spectrum? The need is real and the benefits are limitless!
Staffed by The Learning Spectrum, we are already working with TLS Transition students, and will soon be open to the community.
While 19% of the American population has a disability, in 2018 less than 1 in 5 held jobs, according to The Bureau of Labor Statistics. From an Article at Disabilityscoop.com: “Only about 17 percent of young adults on the spectrum ages 21 to 25 have ever lived independently.” Teaching our kids to garden, care for alpacas, and sell what they grow and produce on our farm will build skills like following directions and multi-step instructions, social interaction, public speaking, gardening, cooking, E-commerce, marketing, videography, and more -- skills that lead to employability, increased independence and greater success.
As we work with our students to build these skills, we’re also seeking local businesses who will allow our kids to practice working in their environments with the possibility of lasting employment. Local businesses that engage in a partnership with us are set to flourish: “Research found that disability-friendly companies had 28% higher revenue, double the net income and 30% higher economic profit margins . . . And people with disabilities are often resilient and creative, as they’ve adapted to their disability in life -- two qualities that can also boost work product.” (Catey Hill, Marketwatch) Creating an inclusive workplace can reduce turnover costs as people with disabilities tend to keep their jobs longer (62% of employees with a disability have been at the same job three years or longer). And, according to a survey by the University of Massachusetts, 92% of Americans look more favorably on businesses that hire people with disabilities than those that do not and 87% said they would prefer to give their business to companies that hire people with disabilities.