People with intellectual and developmental disabilities are ready, willing and able to work
© Greg Nash

The House Committee on Small Business will hear today from a businessman and disability self-advocate, John Cronin and his father, Mark Cronin, co-owners of the million-dollar company, John’s Crazy Socks. Representing the National Down Syndrome Society, the leading human rights organization for all individuals with Down syndrome, John will lend his voice as an entrepreneur and for differently-abled small business owners who seek to hire others with disabilities.

Like many others with intellectual and developmental disabilities, during John’s last year of high school, it was suggested that he seek training or turn to a sheltered workshop where he would perform mundane tasks well below the federal minimum wage. He had other plans though. Like every person, John had the desire to find not just a job but a meaningful career. And then, one day, an idea came to him: socks.

An idea that stemmed from John's love of colorful, dynamic, fun, and what he calls crazy socks turned into a growing business that shipped over 42,000 orders and earned $1.7 million in revenue in 2017 and is expected to double those numbers in 2018. His determination and entrepreneurial spirit is inspiring and rivals that of the biggest companies.

The recently released jobs report by the Department of Labor announced that the United States unemployment rate fell to 3.9 percent in April, the lowest it’s been since December of 2000. This latest report proves that there is no better time than the present to tap into individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and allow them to fulfill their own career goals and seek competitive, integrated employment.

It’s time we focus on creating career opportunities for all individuals with disabilities. We call on all of Congress and business owners across the nation to join John in becoming leaders of change and recognizing that individuals with disabilities as ready, willing and able to work.

Representative Steve ChabotSteven (Steve) Joseph ChabotDems seek to rebuild blue wall in Rust Belt contests Support the Trademark Licensing Protection Act Congress losing faith in Nobel Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi MORE serves as Chairman of the House Committee on Small Business representing Ohio’s First District and Sara Hart Weir, MS, is President & CEO of the National Down Syndrome Society.