Revolutionizing the Workplace with BroadFutures
What does it mean to make our workplaces more inclusive? For BroadFutures, truly revolutionizing the workplace includes supporting and empowering neurodivergent young people so that they can thrive. As the only paid internship program for young people with learning disabilities in the country, BroadFutures helps young people build workplace readiness skills by combining internships with an interactive curriculum that incorporates mentorship, coaching, the arts, stress reduction techniques, and more.
One in five individuals have a learning or attention issue. Despite young people with learning disabilities comprising the largest disability group in the United States, only 41% complete post-secondary education and only 46% obtain regular paid employment within two years of graduating from high school. Yet we know that workplaces and employers benefit from nurturing a diversity of perspectives. BroadFutures is bridging this gap by supporting and empowering neurodivergent young people and connecting them with life changing internships, while also educating employers on how to make their workplaces more accessible. In doing so, BroadFutures is helping employers to understand how neurodiverse talent is an asset in the workplace and how to support, attract, and retain such talent.
During 2022, BroadFutures partnered with 30 employers and served 46 young people, creating mutually successful outcomes for all. “It is an honor to guide our youth to the path of success,” shared Regional Sales Manager, Amy Goumbala, and Branch Manager, Amilcar Ayala, of United Bank, a new BroadFutures employer partner. “(Our intern) Anthony is a smart and talented young man. We enjoyed having him on the team and appreciate the great contributions he has made to United Bank.”
Similarly, Kathryn Markey, Human Resources Director at The InterContinental Hotels Group, a longtime employer partner and recent BroadFutures Champion Award recipient, remarked that “not only did (the Summer 2022 BroadFutures interns) show up ready to work and eager to learn, but they consistently demonstrated a strong work ethic consistent with the level of service that we portray.”
One such example is Derrick Manzi, a Winter 2022 InterContinental Hotel Group intern, who was offered full-time employment upon completion of the internship and was recently named Employee of the Month in September. Prior to joining BroadFutures, Derrick found it difficult to advocate for himself and to know when to ask for help and accommodations. Not only did participating in the program make him feel confident in these areas, but he now considers his ability to work with others to be his greatest area of improvement. As his supervisor noted, Derrick improved in “his self-confidence and independence and (ability to perform) very well in a high stress, fast-paced environment.”
This past summer, BroadFutures launched a nationwide pilot with General Dynamics Mission Systems (GD-MS) across four different offices in Arizona, Connecticut, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania to expand their programming and partnerships. BroadFutures vetted and supported the interns while providing comprehensive neurodiversity training and support for the GD-MS staff. By developing this pilot partnership, BroadFutures is now poised to expand their model nationwide in order to fulfill their vision of a more diverse workplace.
BroadFutures is always eager and open to speaking with potential employers both in the Washington Metropolitan area and beyond! You can learn more about becoming an employer partner, how to apply for their upcoming internship programs, and/or supporting their work so that they can continue making our workplaces more diverse and inclusive.