Creative Spirit Releases First Research Study, #HireDifferent, to Shed Light On Employment Barriers Among Individuals with Intellectual, Developmental and Learning Disabilities

Study Reveals Lowest Intention to Hire Individuals with Disabilities, Despite Exponential Growth in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Efforts at Large and Mid-size Companies

NEW YORK, April 01, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Creative Spirit is the first 501c3 non-profit organization devoted to finding fair-wage integrated positions at the best companies in the world for individuals with intellectual, developmental and learning disabilities (IDDs) – the largest, most impoverished minority population. Those with IDD’s are unemployed at an astounding 85% and there has been no meaningful progress since the passing of the ADA over 30 years ago. In honor of Autism Awareness Month and in anticipation of the growing number of college graduates with disabilities, Creative Spirit released the first large-scale research study, titled #HireDifferent, that reveals the obstacles to hiring neurodiverse talent. Creative Spirit engaged 250 corporate decision-makers responsible for hiring to determine the attitudes, behaviors and barriers to hiring those with IDD’s into fair-wage integrated positions.

Diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace has been challenged with many moments of reckoning amid the #BLM movement and insidious social happenings in the past year. Individuals with IDDs are a minority constituency that repeatedly get lost amid talks about DE&I. The premise of the research is to capture baseline hiring practices data, hiring data specifically related to IDDs, and a reaction to the Creative Spirit model.

“Neurodiversity is a sector of DE&I that is most often overlooked in the workforce and this has gone on for far too long,” said Laurel Rossi, Co-Founder and CEO of Creative Spirit. “The barriers found in the study are things we can easily overcome – especially in an era where technology prevails, there is a growing minimum wage and tremendous workforce mobility. Our goal in commissioning and publishing this research is to provide direction for businesses – guiding them towards hiring, retaining and supporting individuals with IDDs and allowing candidates with disabilities to become a fundamental part of their hiring process.”

The main findings derived from the research clearly indicated:

  • Almost all decision-makers who took part in the study, believed that hiring candidates with IDDs is good for business.

  • The most prominent barriers to or myths about hiring people with IDDs are:
 1. There is no centralized pipeline of candidates with IDDs, with over 45% of respondents in agreement.
 2. Despite the fact that 87% of decision-makers have diversity hiring ambitions, 47% of respondents believe that they would need tremendous resources to be successful at hiring those with IDDs, and therefore do not follow through with hiring.
 3.The majority of decision-makers do not believe that those with disabilities are able to do the work required to be successful, in spite of the growing education levels and modern work skills training.

Creative Spirit has established a robust pipeline of individuals with IDDs, provides corporate diversity training and the skills training, coaching and mentoring necessary to ensure the long-term success of those with disabilities in fair-wage integrated jobs. The good news in the study was near ubiquitous interest among corporate decision-makers in hiring those with IDDs after exposure to the services that Creative Spirit provides.

About Creative Spirit
Creative Spirit is a non-profit 501c3 organization devoted to creating integrated employment opportunities for individuals with intellectual disabilities. Our mission is simple: to create and support the successful placement of individuals with IDDs at the most creative, forward-thinking companies in the world. Creative Spirit was born and is dedicated to providing the opportunity for employers to be matched with individuals who are loyal, enthusiastic, qualified, and bring a new kind of energy to any organization. The goal is to create 1 million jobs during this decade, for the upwards of 10 million people with IDDs in the US alone who are currently unemployed—a staggering 85% of ready, willing, and able adults. Creative Spirit offers corporate training and consulting to organizations interested in adding disability to their DE&I agenda. Currently, 15% of those with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDDs) who work are subject to significant pay gaps or go unpaid altogether. This is a global crisis, and likely the most profound human rights employment issue of our time, yet it goes unsolved.

Contact Creative Spirit at and follow along on social across Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn. Register for our annual gala on May 6thHERE #hiredifferent

Media Contact:
Jaime Rice