By: Sharon Aron Baron
For hiring and retaining employees who have disabilities, Rising Tide Car Wash was named one of 12 businesses who are Florida Exceptional Employers.
Held at the 13th Annual Exceptional Employer Awards celebration at the Tallahassee city commission chambers, Rising Tide was honored by the the Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD) for their successful, groundbreaking social enterprise whose mission is to employ adults with autism.
The awards were presented in honor of Disability Employment Awareness Month where throughout the month of October, APD and its partner agencies will promote the valuable skills individuals with disabilities contribute to the workforce.
Thomas D’Eri, co-founder and COO of Rising Tide Car Wash said they were incredibly honored to be named one of 12 recipients of the Florida Exceptional Employers.
“Autism is a valuable diversity, as opposed to a disability that requires sympathy. At Rising Tide, we have nearly 90 employees ― 80 percent of whom are individuals with autism. Here, young adults with autism are provided with opportunities to realize their capabilities, gain confidence, make friends, gain financial independence, and have a place to call their own.”
Currently, over 80 percent of individuals with autism struggle to find employment.
Rising Tide, which has locations in Parkland and Margate is one of the largest employers of people with autism in the U.S. Rising Tide and its consultants created an innovative model that breaks the car washing process into 46 distinct steps. Employees work in a mirror image of each other, and are able to thrive off the repetitive structure to produce extraordinary results.
John and Thomas D’Eri created the business to develop a scalable solution to employing individuals with autism. They were inspired to do this by watching John’s son and Thomas’ brother Andrew, a vibrant young man with autism, struggle to find his place in the world.