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Celebrate EDU

Developmental disability entrepreneurship education

PATH TO WORK

Many adults with a developmental disability have the ability and desire to work—yet around 85% of them are unemployed. Celebrate EDU helps turn those potential workers into actual ones with online classes and interactive one-day workshops. It’s an entrepreneurial program that teaches business skills, giving these adults a fulfilling, sustainable path from school to the working world.

Founder Jenny Anderson’s family inspired
her to start Celebrate EDU. Her brother Brett, an adult with autism, used entrepreneurship and some help from their mom to a create successful career. Brett combined his humor and love of cartoons to create an illustrated book series about his experience. Jenny wanted to give others the tools to pursue their passions and achieve professional success, too.

By donating to Celebrate EDU, you’re paving the way for students to pursue their passions and work toward happier, productive lives.
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Grommet Launch Conversation

  • Jenny
    Jenny

    Hi, I’m Jenny Anderson, Co-Founder and CEO of Celebrate EDU. Currently 85% of those with developmental disabilities are unemployed. We aim to change this by providing innovative entrepreneurial education that help adults with disabilities turn their interests and passions into employment opportunities, helping them create happier and more productive lives.

  • Cynthia
    Cynthia – Grommet Team
    11/3/2016 1:11 PM

    What elements of Celebrate EDU's programs did you consider essential from the beginning?

  • Jenny
    Jenny – Special Guest
    11/3/2016 1:16 PM

    There were two essential elements that I wanted the Celebrate EDU programs to have. First and foremost, I wanted to recognize and build upon the interests and strengths of each individual participant. Our curriculum is a tool for young adults to take what they are good at and turn it into a career. Second, I wanted our programs to be scalable and widely accessible. There are many organizations doing great work in their local areas but very few that are addressing this issue on a national level. By utilizing technology and building our curriculum online we are able to work with people anywhere in the U.S.

  • Cynthia
    Cynthia – Grommet Team
    11/3/2016 1:15 PM

    How is Celebrate EDU's approach different from similar organizations and how do you measure a project's success?

  • Jenny
    Jenny – Special Guest
    11/3/2016 1:16 PM

    What makes us different is that our curriculum is truly based on the interests and passions of the people we work with. This is hands-down my favorite thing about our programs. Every business idea that each student creates is so reflective of who they are as a person. Instead of teaching them skills to fit into a certain job, we are instead helping them create a career that will really work for them.

    We measure our success by the individual growth of each student including their knowledge of business, communication skills, and ability to collaborate with others. We also track the employment rates either through a traditional job or through self-employment of students after they participate in our programs.

  • Cynthia
    Cynthia – Grommet Team
    11/3/2016 1:15 PM

    Was this a business you saw yourself building when you got started? And was it something you felt that you were equipped to do or did you learn as you went along?

  • Jenny
    Jenny – Special Guest
    11/3/2016 1:17 PM

    To be honest, I didn’t think I would ever start a business; I never took a business class before I started Celebrate EDU. This was truly a passion project for me. I saw my brother find success through entrepreneurship and I wanted to help others do the same. When I decided to start the organization I sought out mentors with experience in all different sectors, read everything I could get my hands on, and allowed myself to learn from my experiences. I continue to learn more every day, and I know I still have a long way to go!

  • Cynthia
    Cynthia – Grommet Team
    11/3/2016 1:16 PM

    What are some unexpected rewards and challenges in building and running the organization?

  • Jenny
    Jenny – Special Guest
    11/3/2016 1:17 PM

    One of our mottos at Celebrate EDU is to “celebrate the little things”. Challenges so often arise in the day-to-day of running and building an organization. In the beginning, I would find myself overwhelmed by the amount of work that needed to be done or things that weren’t going the way I expected them to. I decided to start the practice of celebrating everything, from the smallest victories to the biggest accomplishments.

    This allowed me to see every challenge as an achievement and not get too bogged down in all the work. Since starting this practice I have been able to better appreciate the impact that we have on the lives of young adults with disabilities which is the best reward of all. Getting a phone call from a parent talking about how their child is excited about the future for the first time because they have decided to be an entrepreneur, that is truly what it’s all about.

  • Cynthia
    Cynthia – Grommet Team
    11/3/2016 1:16 PM

    What is one thing you want people to take away from this feature?

  • Jenny
    Jenny – Special Guest
    11/3/2016 1:17 PM

    I hope this feature raises awareness about the incredibly high 85% unemployment rate of adults with developmental disabilities (The Arc of the United States) while also showing people their skills and how capable they are of success. I hope it inspires business leaders to think about what role they can play in providing better opportunities to those with disabilities, encourages consumers to support them in their business ventures, and motivates people to become mentors for the entrepreneurs that we work with at Celebrate EDU!

The launch day conversation has ended. Please direct further questions about this Grommet to our Community Experience Team.

  • As featured in:

  • Today Show
  • Real Simple
  • The New York Times
  • Fortune
  • Inc Magazine