Stanley Black & Decker Hosted a “Quiet Race” for Kids with Autism as Part of Initiative with Autism Speaks

Stanley Black & Decker and the Envision Virgin Racing Team created a unique racing experience for kids with autism spectrum disorder at the ABB FIA Formula E Racing Championship New York E Prix on July 13-14. The quiet race aimed to advance inclusion and foster understanding and acceptance of neurodiversity. Kids and their families received a special behind-the-scenes garage tour and a special race-day experience that accommodated all sensory sensitivities. Guests were also given the opportunity to learn about STEM careers in motorsports. The event was held at the Brooklyn Circuit in Red Hook.

“Formula E is a unique form of motorsport and our electric engines showcase the best automotive technology,” said Envision Virgin Racing Driver Sam Bird. “I’m proud that this sport allows us to welcome new fans who may not be able to enjoy other types of motorsport due to sensory sensitivities. I’m excited to help host these families this weekend to show how our series is unique and hopefully introduce these kids to a world of STEAM careers within the sport.”

Following the quiet race, Sam Bird auctioned off his racing suit, with all proceeds benefitting Autism Speaks. The organization is further working with Stanley Black & Decker to create a program that prepares people with autism to pursue careers in the manufacturing field.

Studies show that the vast majority of adults with autism are un- or underemployed. Knowing this, Stanley Black & Decker has made it their mission to empower 10 million makers of all abilities by 2030–which includes preparing the future workforce with vocational training, STEAM education, and access to makerspaces. This mission is made possible through a grant program developed with Autism Speaks, which will suit the needs of makers with autism.

According to SBD, the program will coach faculty members on how to accommodate learners with autism, work with participants to increase self-advocacy and independence as well as interpersonal skills and help them develop a peer network. The program will focus on communities where Stanley Black & Decker has a manufacturing presence, helping to create a talent pool of workers with developmental disabilities.

“Over the next five years, we will work together to create a community college curriculum focused on manufacturing skills,” said Angela Geiger, president and CEO at Autism Speaks. “We applaud Stanley Black & Decker for its focus on inclusion and our shared commitment to preparing people on the spectrum for meaningful careers and greater independence.”