Tucked away on Route 1 in Guilford is one of Connecticut’s hidden gems. Roses for Autism is many things; it’s a farm, a florist, a career training program, a sensory garden, and most importantly, a true community resource for individuals with autism. Within 12,500 square feet of greenhouse space, Roses for Autism is also the northeast’s last commercial rose grower, cultivating many varieties of roses including the Forever Red, Bridal Pink, Orlando Pink, Goldstrike Yellow, as well as their signature Lavande Purple Rose.
For the last ten years, Roses for Autism have helped individuals living with autism and other disabilities navigate the post high school journey to employment. Despite national attention to this important issue, Individuals with disabilities continue to have a much lower rate of employment compared with the general population, just 18% compared to 66% of individuals without a disability according to a 2018 report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Michelle Ouimette, Managing Director of Roses for Autism, offered this explanation for the high unemployment rate: “young adults with disabilities want the chance to work and contribute to society. They too desire a sense of purpose, however after high school ends, many individuals get stuck in unemployment because they don’t have the right supports or opportunities to help them get their first job!”
Individuals who attend Roses for Autism participate in their vibrant internship program that teaches them the hard skills of the business from growing operations to floral design, retail merchandizing, ecommerce, and customer service. They also teach employability skills - the soft skills - like how to find a job, working as a team, resolving conflict, etc. Roses for Autism leverages its relationships with other businesses and organizations to help people become employed.
In addition to providing career development opportunities, Roses for Autism teaches the importance of a national marketplace.
Roses for Autism delivers locally and ships nationwide. 100% of the proceeds are reinvested into its business and programs.
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