Young Adults with Autism, Researchers and Business Leaders will Discuss Workforce Initiatives on April 10

March 29, 2017

March 29, 2017

Julia Strapp
Associate Director, Communications
[email protected]

Young Adults with Autism, Researchers and Business Leaders will Discuss Workforce Initiatives on April 10


What: Replacing the Autism Puzzle with a Blueprint of Social Innovation

“The Bottom Line of Disabilities,” is an annual symposium held by the Salt Lake City-based Columbus Community Center and the Philadelphia-based Global Interdependence Center (GIC) with a focus on the social and economic impact of disabilities. Young adults with autism face an 80% unemployment rate, compared to a 3.5% unemployment rate that is currently driving Utah’s prosperity and standard of living. Panelists at this program will discuss policies, practices, and public-private partnerships that can facilitate opportunities for young adults with autism so that they, too, can contribute their human capital to an already prosperous community. The event is being co-hosted by the Salt Lake Chamber and the Autism Council of Utah.

Where: Columbus Community Center
3495 South West Temple
Salt Lake City, UT 84115

When: April 10, 2017; 8:00 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.

Who: This event will feature the following speakers and moderators:

• David Altig, Executive Vice President and Director of Research, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta
• Teresa Cardon, Director, Melisa Nellesen Autism Center
• Kristy Chambers, Chief Executive Officer, Columbus Community Center
• Catherine E. Chambless, Senior Research Associate, Kem C. Policy Institute
• Arthur Cheadle, Peer Mentor and Graduate of the University of Utah NeuroVersity
• Mason Dimock, Peer Mentor and Graduate of the University of Utah NeuroVersity
• Philippa Dunne, Co-Editor, The Liscio Report
• Elliot Francis, Co-Founder of Optimizing Utah, Autism Advocate, and IT Project Manager at University of Utah Health Sciences
• Natalie Gochnour, Director, Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute, University of Utah
• Megan Greene, Chief Economist, Manulife Asset Management
• Christina Guevara, Secondary School Principal, Spectrum Academy – North Salt Lake
• Basil Harb, Principal, Method Studio
• Safia Keller, Chief Employment Development Officer, Columbus Community Center
• David Kotok, Chief Investment Officer, Cumberland Advisors and GIC Board Member
• Dylan Lamb, Peer Mentor and Graduate of the University of Utah NeuroVersity
• Stephanie Mackay, Chief Innovation Officer, Columbus Community Center and GIC Board Member
• Michael McKee, International Economics and Politics Correspondent, Bloomberg
• William McMahon, Director, University of Utah Autism Outreach Center
• John Rockefeller, Managing Partner, AutLife
• Chad Salvadore, Director, Evidence-Based Consulting, University of Utah Sorenson Impact Center, David Eccles School of Business
• Cheryl C. Smith, Past President, Autism Council of Utah
• Ken R. Smith, Distinguished Professor, Family and Consumer Studies, University of Utah
• Thorkil Sonne, Founder, Specialisterne
• Amy Wadsworth, NextWork Program Director, Columbus

Contact: To register for this event or for more information please contact Julia Strapp, the Global Interdependence Center’s associate director of communications, at [email protected] or 215-238-0990.

About the Global Interdependence Center: The Global Interdependence Center is a Philadelphia-based nonprofit organization that seeks to stimulate thoughtful, global dialogue on a wide range of issues that affect the international community, including economics, health care and government. GIC convenes conferences and roundtable discussions, both domestically and internationally, to identify and address emerging global issues. For more information, visit GIC’s website at

About the Columbus Community Center: Columbus has provided services for individuals with disabilities since 1968. Columbus is recognized locally and nationally as a well-established, innovative nonprofit agency that works strategically with stakeholders to support individuals so they can make informed decisions, pursue meaningful careers and live with independence in the community. Columbus follows a “social enterprise” business model that offers business services and social services to create opportunity for individuals with disabilities. Columbus began as a grass-roots effort started by parents looking for a community-based program, opening its doors with eight young adults and has grown to serve over 400 people a year. Learn more at