Alliance. Network. Knowledge. Action. And… Business! These were the key words of the event, organized by DUAL Italia to address the theme of inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities in the workplace.
Starting from DUAL Italia's experience in hiring two people with Down's syndrome, the event discussed disability and neurodiversity, bias and stereotypes, the culture of diversity and richness of inclusion in the workplace. It also explored the importance of support from specialist associations for recruiting and training, and the importance of work for independence and social emancipation.
Speakers included Mariella Bruno, owner of Diversity & Opportunity, Maurizio Ghilosso, CEO and Daniela Rubes, CFO of DUAL Italia, Martina Fuga, president of AGPD Onlus (Association of Parents and People with Down's Syndrome) and vice-president of CoorDown (Italian National Coordination Of Down Syndrome Associations), and Cristina Panisi, pediatrician, PhD in psychology and neuroscience.
The four speakers gave us their four key take outs from the session:
1. We need to shift the thinking of inclusion being a matter of philanthropy, to a matter of competitiveness
The international scheme ISO 30415:2021 recognizes and details the value of all types of diversity. “For companies, being inclusive today is not a matter of philanthropy, but a key factor in terms of competitiveness, market positioning, selecting suppliers and attracting investors and talent. This is not just a dream, but a path that brings concrete results in the quality of work, productivity and a sense of belonging”.
Mariella Bruno, owner of Diversity & Opportunity
2. Neurodiversity inclusion generates wealth and value for every organization
Seven years ago, DUAL Italia hired our first colleague with Down's syndrome, who is part of its Portfolio management team, and in 2020, the second who works in the Administration team.
“From the germ of the idea to implementation, we knew we would need support. AGPD ran the recruiting process, starting with our business needs, and through to the provision of specialist training and expert tutors. The experience has been so successful that today DUAL Italia is now recruiting a colleague with autism and is deeply committed to spreading the message that inclusion generates wealth and value for every organization”.
Maurizio Ghilosso, CEO and Daniela Rubes, CFO, DUAL Italia
3. Companies can be a bridge between the most fragile and marginalized communities and the rest of the world
“That bridge and alliance is what makes the inclusive promises concrete. Confidence with diversity in the workplace plays a fundamental role in nurturing a culture of inclusiveness within the broader social context.”
AGPD has been working for 20 years on job placement of people with Down’s syndrome, providing candidates who, suitably trained and supported, can make a real contribution to the hiring Organizations.
Martina Fuga, president of AGPD Onlus (Association of Parents and People with Down's Syndrome) and vice-president of CoorDown (Italian National Coordination Of Down Syndrome Associations)
4. Only 25% of autistic adults are employed
"1 in 5 adolescents present neuropsychiatric disorders, 1 in 77 children is on the autism spectrum. Only 25% of autistic adults are employed, and that is mostly part-time. Today, it is no longer a question of hiring people despite their neurodivergence condition but it’s time to choose them for their specific characteristics. We just need the right match between candidates and companies, and the support of experienced professionals before and after the placement.”
Cristina Panisi, pediatrician, PhD in psychology and neuroscience