With our long-term goal to empower 10 million makers and creators of all abilities by 2030, we’re working together with some very special partners and developing powerful global programs, to unlock potential, open opportunities for people with different abilities to shine.
Joining forces once again with Autism Speaks, we’ve established the NxtGen Program, an initiative to prepare people with an autism spectrum disorder to enter the workforce of tomorrow. With an approximate 80-90% of autistic adults either unemployed or underemployed globally, and a predicted 3.5 million unfilled manufacturing vacancies over the next ten years, our community college curriculum aims to address this growing gap. This collaborative program will teach the vital practical knowledge that will help people with autism obtain STEAM professional certification training, and ultimately follow careers in areas such as skilled production.
Empowering the makers, the fighters and the dreamers are our pioneering brand partners, who work tirelessly to enable people with different abilities to pursue their ambitions. These partners include the incredible Amy Purdy and Daniel Gale, and their organization Adaptive Action Sports. After a critical illness aged 19, athlete Amy Purdy was given only 2% chance of survival, and had both of her legs amputated below the knee. Just two months later, this courageous athlete finished third in a major snowboarding competition. Committed to motivating others like herself, Amy co-founded Adaptive Action Sports with her partner Daniel Gale.
This non-profit organization empowers individuals with physical disabilities to push their limits, unlock potential, accomplish new skills and enter the exciting world of action sports in an inclusive and supportive way.
Another trailblazer fighting for empowerment and inclusion is the amazing Nathalie McGloin. Undeterred by a serious spinal injury that left her paralyzed from the chest down, Nathalie took decisive action to turn a negative situation into a positive opportunity. Now the world’s only professional female tetraplegic race driver, Nathalie competes against able-bodied men and has become President of the FIA Disability & Accessibility Commission, which campaigns for better accessibility and inclusivity in motorsports. She also runs an organization called Spinal Track, which enables people with disabilities to build their confidence and experience the thrills of track and rally days driving specially modified cars – leaving their disabilities behind as they take to the wheel.
Around the world, our own employees and leaders have built a strong network of Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) to foster development and advancement throughout our business, supporting both our own associates and our local communities. Participants can engage with cross-functional teams, network with others, learn best practices and share new ideas. Our growing Abilities ERG was established to support both employees with disabilities and caregivers of those with disabilities in an inclusive environment, where they can develop their career prospects, and flourish within a diverse and inclusive workforce.
Whether in sports, in the workplace or in the local community, we’re extremely proud of the tremendous commitment our partners and employees have made in advancing awareness, understanding and acceptance of diversity, and for paving the way for the next generations of makers and creators of all abilities to innovate and thrive.