Stella Spanakos Of The Nicholas Center Honored As Diversity In Business Leader

Stella Spanakos (Center) being honored as a Diversity in Business Leader. (Contributed photo)

This week, Stella L. Spanakos, Co-Founder of The Nicholas Center and Spectrum Designs Foundation received the Diversity in Business Award from Long Island Business News. The award highlights the outstanding achievements of professionals who actively support the growth of diversity and equality in our community.
For over a decade, The Nicholas Center has worked to revolutionize the way autistic adults learn, live and work. Acting as agents of change, the organization inspires and encourages diversity and inclusion in all facets of community life. The Port Washington-based organization offers vocational training, community engagement, peer connections and job support to individuals facing 85% unemployment and under engagement once school ends at age 21.
“We would like to see businesses consider inclusion in the workplace as leverage rather than compliance. We learn from each other,” said Ms. Spanakos. “Some of the individuals we work with can complete tasks with more accuracy and efficiency than you or I ever could.”
In terms of return on investment, in ten years, The Nicholas Center has grown from an idea, in a barn with four Autistic individuals to now operating in two locations, including remote programming, micro-businesses and 25 plus community partnerships.
“One of our participants didn’t have language, and now he sings Sinatra,” said Ms. Spanakos.
The Nicholas Center advocates tirelessly at the local, state and national level to further the conversation about the benefits of inclusion in the workplace and in the community. Operating from the perspective that once perceptions, attitudes and behaviors change, we will see real change in this sector.
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—Submitted by The Nicholas Center


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