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Dr. Temple Grandin Urges Employers to Hire Workers with Developmental Disabilities

Developmental Pathways, South Metro Denver Chamber Welcome Famed CSU Professor as Part of Inclusive Workplace Effort

AURORA, Colo., Sept. 11, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Dr. Temple Grandin urged Colorado business leaders Monday to reach deep and develop new, innovative ways to employ people with developmental disabilities and neurodiverse thinkers.

In an event co-sponsored by Developmental Pathways and the South Metro Denver Chamber (SMDC), Dr. Grandin, the famed Colorado State University agriculture professor and international speaker, said the key to successful inclusion of people in the workplace is to focus on worker's strengths.

"Let's get these people working," Dr. Grandin encouraged the gathered business leaders. "I want people in jobs they like doing…don't shove a girl (with autism) in a department store at Christmas time. There is too much sensory overload there."

As with typical workers, Dr. Grandin said that people with disabilities should be able to expect more opportunities and responsibilities as they advance in their careers. She said bagging groceries, a job held by many people with developmental disabilities, might be a good starting opportunity, but many people with developmental disabilities are more than capable of going on to positions that require additional skills and talents.

Kim Tenure, I/DD Advocacy, Education, & Policy Manager at Developmental Pathways, outlined how her organization is working to support inclusive workplaces.

"There are resources available to support employers who are seeking a more inclusive or neurodiverse workforce. Developmental Pathways is excited to engage business leaders with an interest in this area," Tenure said. "We hope to change the conversation to be less about what people with disabilities can't do and focus more on each individual's strengths."

Robert Golden, President and CEO of the SMDC, said the chamber is excited to sponsor events like Dr. Grandin's talk.

"Workplaces function best when workforces are diverse and inclusive," Golden said. "Our member, Developmental Pathways, is doing a wonderful job of helping us all explore how we can successfully employ people with developmental disabilities. Dr.  Grandin was the perfect speaker to get us all focused on this goal."

Dr. Grandin added that she is continually disappointed that skilled trades like electrical and plumbing are disregarded when she talks to business leaders.

"These are jobs that (people with developmental disabilities) can do, and they are not going to be replaced by AI (artificial intelligence)," she said.

Erich Kirshner
Evolution Communications Agency


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SOURCE South Metro Denver Chamber