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Extraordinary Ventures Hosts Inclusive Employment Summit

Extraordinary Ventures Hosts Inclusive Employment Summit

Member News

Attendees included over 120 local employers, entrepreneurs, self-advocates, service providers, and family members

Over 120 local employers, entrepreneurs, self-advocates, service providers, and family members came together for an Inclusive Employment Summit hosted by Extraordinary Ventures on September 9, 2022. The focus of the summit was to educate and inform the greater Triangle community on the resources available to engage one of our community's most extraordinary talent pools: people with Intellectual and developmental disabilities (ID/DD) such as autism.

The event was co-sponsored by The Chamber, Work Together NC, The Arc of the Triangle, and the Autism Support and Advocacy Center.

Keynote speaker Rep. Allen Buansi addressed the crisis of the employment gap for adults with I/DD, as well as community solutions and the benefits of workforce neurodiversity. While many employers are struggling to find workers, Autistic Adults have an unemployment rate of 80%. This, despite the many benefits of hiring ID/DD individuals. Of particular interest to employers is the outstanding retention rate of this labor force. For example, the median tenure at Extraordinary Ventures is 8.6 years, versus 1.9 years for comparable jobs at other employers.

The Summit offered panel discussions on the advantages of inclusive hiring, start-up resources for entrepreneurs, and career development for self-advocates.

Additional topics addressed included de-bunking myths about hiring employees with disabilities, Vocational Rehabilitation resources for employers and employees, and mindset shifts for employers to facilitate a truly inclusive workplace. Numerous organizations from around the Triangle were on hand to provide information at a lunchtime resource fair.

The intention is for the Inclusive Employment Summit to be a catalyst for systemic change through the formation of an Inclusive Employment Coalition to connect and support employers committed to inclusive practices with job-seekers and service providers. Employers and self-advocates who would like to learn more about the Coalition can contact Lisa Kaylie at and Jacklyn Boheler at

The free event was made possible by funding from the NC Council on Developmental Disabilities and a donation from Wegmans. 


What: Inclusive Employment Summit

When: September 9, 2022 from 8:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Where: Blue Hill Event Center at Extraordinary Ventures | 200 S. Elliott Rd. | Chapel Hill, NC 27514

Resources and Presentation Links | Employer Resource Packet, Work Together NC Slidedeck, Vocational Rehabilitation Slidedeck, Vocational Rehabilitation Resources, Mindset Shifts For Employers, Family / Self Advocate Resources

Contact: Lisa Kaylie, Executive Director, Extraordinary Ventures.

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