Florida Car Wash with 35 Autistic Employees

Fort Lauderdale resident Tom D’Eri, co-owner of Rising Tide Car Wash in Parkland, wipes car wax over a customer’s car. He spoke at the United Nations about his experience running a business where 80 percent of the employees have an autism spectrum disorder. (Todd Roller)

Rising Tide Car Wash in Parkland, FL is a local business giving job opportunities to people with autism. Their story is being highlighted by Starbucks’ video campaign, Upstanders, in a piece entitled “Employing the Full Spectrum.” Inspired by his son, Andrew, who was diagnosed with autism, John D’Eri founded the car wash three years ago. “He is not going to be independent unless I can help him to be so,” said John D’Eri in the video. This confident attitude and has led him to unlock his son’s potential, saying of it, “Everybody has a capability to contribute.” This positive spirit and focus on tangible contribution is another way for us to empower folks on the spectrum, give hope, and show that there are initiatives out there other than state-funded programs. Project Discovery joins in this effort by offering skills training programs like Auto Detailing for students to become successful and make their on contribution in any job that suits them. To read more about Rising Tide Car Wash, see the article in the Sun Sentinel here. For consumers, you can help support transition outcomes by looking here for other companies that support autism employment, and small business owners can use this to consider and take the first steps to hiring someone with autism or a disability.

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