A virtual conference to promote special needs focused entrepreneurship and social enterprises.
Currently Seeking Speakers! Are you an entrepreneur with a disability? Do you have expertise in helping new businesses start-up and grow? Do you have a school- or agency-based enterprise you'd like to share? We invite you to submit the speaker proposal application by clicking on the link above. Presenter applications are due August 1st, 2021.
Need for a Creative Workforce Solutions Summit:
Nationally, one in six children between the ages of 3 and 17 are affected by developmental delays (Center for Disease Control). In Florida, Palm Beach County is home to the third largest population of adults with developmental disabilities; the Florida Department of Health reported nearly 4,000 individuals affected in 2018, and that number has been steadily rising since 2013. Neurological differences including Autism Spectrum Disorders, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Dyspraxia, and others present life-long challenges for families to navigate as they strive for their loved ones to lead healthy, happy, productive lives. From meeting early developmental milestones to planning for independence or care transitions, the need for support and resources can seem overwhelming and never-ending.
People with disabilities have the same life goals as most everyone else: from childhood to adulthood they want to enjoy supportive friendships and relationships, achieve academically, and obtain viable career options. Unfortunately, children with disabilities often struggle to master the complex verbal and nonverbal social interactions, social perception, and self-regulatory behaviors that help build friendships. These skill gaps profoundly affect a child’s ability to learn and succeed in school, and ultimately affect their ability to enter the workforce and live as independently as possible.
The end of childhood signals the beginning of a new range of challenges for families of people with intellectual or developmental delays. Until age 22, schools provide a world of benefits for people with special needs, including academic enrichment, therapeutic services, and consistent opportunities to socialize and develop friendships. All this ends when they age out of the school system at age 22, leaving neurodiverse individuals with little support and few options. Despite a willingness and desire to go to work at this point -- nearly half of those without a job say that they would like one (Human Services Research Institute, 2012) -- the employment rate of people with disabilities is just 27% (U.S. Census Bureau’s 2011 American Community Survey).
Jobs not only provide financial support, they are also an important source of social interactions for most adults. Friendships are one of the most important factors influencing a person’s quality of life and influence both mental and physical health; however, research has shown that for many people with disabilities, significant interpersonal relationships are rare or non-existent, which contributes significantly to rates of depression, anxiety, and challenging behavior (‘I Get by with a Little Help from my Friends’: Adults with Intellectual Disability Discuss Loneliness, McVilly et al., 2006). Parents are often unable to be as supportive as they might like, as the physical and psychological strain, unpredictability, and uncontrollability of caring for a loved one with disabilities all create chronic stress that impacts personal health, work, and family relationships. Research by the Family Caregiver Alliance, the National Center on Caregiving, reveals that 76% of adults with special needs reside with their parents and in 25% of these homes the parents are 60 years of age or older. The divorce rate among caregivers is as high as 80% (University Center for Social and Urban Research at the University of Pittsburgh).
The Creative Workforce Solutions Summit will give entrepreneurs and social enterprises the tools needed to start or grow a business. Successful businesses will share keys to success and needs of special needs focused businesses will be addressed. The Summit will create a community of collaboration and support, while enabling opportunities of creative workforce solutions for individuals with special needs during this unprecedented time.
Summit Overview & Schedule
The Summit agenda opens on Thursday afternoon and again on Friday morning with panels of successful entrepreneurs who will share stories about the start-up of their business and how they achieved their dreams.
We will review options for school- or agency-based enterprises and offer continuing education for Certified Rehabilitation Counselors (CRCC), Certified Employment Support Professionals (APSE CESP) and Florida Supported Employment Coaches (APD).
We will hear from successful social enterprises and entrepreneurs from around the country, who will share their business models and provide a roadmap for those interested in starting a business.
In addition, we have partnered with The Small Business Development Council, SCORE, and other business experts to provide tools and solutions for both start-up (Track 1) and seasoned (Track 2) businesses.
The conference will continue with experts providing general information (Track 3) to support families and entrepreneurs, such as benefits planning, post-secondary programs, and industry training options.
All of the presenters were excellent speakers and very knowledgeable!! They all need to be commended on their insight and experiences! Also thank you for making the website user friendly!! That is so important, when you are trying to do 2 things at the same time, its easy to navigate! Thank you for that!! - Renee P.
Loved hearing the real life experiences of people who started their own businesses. - Angela L.
I liked the variety of sessions. The sessions I liked most were the ones that gave real tips of how to make my business better. - Dina L.
I believe this will just get better and better. Congratulation on a wonderful event! - Monica D.
I enjoyed the diverse group of speakers, from parents and business owners to professionals. - Anonymous
Thank You to our Generous Sponsors:
Visionary Presenting Sponsor Diane Lynn Family Foundation, Inc.
Unicorn Ambassador Silvana & Barry Halperin
Missed our conference last year? No worries! The 2020 Creative Workforce Solutions Conference is available On-Demand until June for only $35!