Groundbreaking Social Enterprise Rising Tide Celebrates Second Anniversary on April 6
Thomas D’Eri, COO of Rising Tide Car Wash, a Parkland-based pioneering social enterprise that helps young people with autism build a career and achieve an independent lifestyle, has been selected to speak at the United Nations’ World Autism Awareness Day event, “Employment: The Autism Advantage.” The event will take place on Thursday, April 2 at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, N.Y.
D’Eri, along with CEOs and other leading business executives, has been invited to speak at the event, which is a call to action, inviting businesses to make concrete pledges and commitments to employ persons with autism. While many of the other speakers are from large corporations, D’Eri is proud to represent Rising Tide, a social enterprise.
Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon is expected to make the opening address at the event. Governor of Delaware and former Chair of the National Governors Association Jack Markell will speak on his project to increase hiring of people with disabilities, including persons with autism.
At the event, a clip from Rising Tide’s recent NationSwell documentary, which now has over 3 million combined views on Facebook and YouTube, will be played.
Rising Tide, founded on April 6, 2013, is one of the largest employers of people with autism in the U.S. with 30+ employees, and aims to be the premier car wash experience in the market. Reflecting the proven fact that people with autism, when instructed correctly, are exceptional at maintaining consistency with tasks requiring repetition and structure, Rising Tide and its consultants created an innovative model that breaks the car washing process into 46 distinct steps. Rising Tide helps its associates with autism realize their incredible capabilities, gain confidence that they never had before, make friends, gain financial independence, and have a place to call their own.
The U.N. speaking opportunity coincides with Rising Tide’s second anniversary. Since its founding, Rising Tide has almost tripled its customer base, and built an “Unlimited Wash Club” membership of approximately 1,000 people. During the past two years, Rising Tide has made significant strides in creating awareness of the capabilities that people with autism have. These include being featured on NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams and other national news programs/publications, being selected to attend Unreasonable Institute Global, one of the most prestigious social impact accelerator programs in the world, and much more.
“I am extremely honored to have been selected to speak at the United Nations Headquarters on World Autism Awareness Day,” said D’Eri. “As we at Rising Tide celebrate our second anniversary, we are very happy to be a part of the efforts in the U.S. and around the world to make communities understand the incredible capabilities that people with autism have, and how they can be exceptional employees.”
D’Eri and his father John D’Eri co-founded Rising Tide Car Wash to develop a scalable solution to employing individuals with autism. They were inspired to do this by watching Tom’s brother, 22-year-old Andrew, a vibrant young man with autism, struggle to find his place in the world. It is estimated that more than 80 percent of adults with autism are unemployed, and at least 500,000 more individuals with autism will enter the workforce in the next decade.