Get to know Ernie Dianastasis, DEAL Keynote
DRT is thrilled to welcome Ernie Dianastasis as our 2021 Disability Employment Awareness Luncheon (DEAL) Keynote Speaker!
Ernie is Founder and CEO of The Precisionists, Inc. (TPI), a global administrative services and information technology company focused on employing 10,000 people with disabilities by the year 2025. Based in Delaware, but national in its reach, TPI is focused on creating meaningful careers for people with disabilities while delivering world-class service to customers. Visit The Precisionists, Inc. website.
This week we interviewed Ernie and got a sneak peek into all the knowledge he has to share. We gained insight into how he began his work and gathered some tips for businesses looking to expand their own inclusive hiring practice.
What sparked your interest in disability employment?
I got involved in disability employment when I was introduced by Delaware Governor Jack Markell to a global innovator from Denmark named Thorkil Sonne. Sonne came up with some very innovative methods to find, assess, train and employ individuals on the autism spectrum for technology jobs. I also have a personal connection with a sibling who has been challenged with a developmental disability for his entire life.
What drove you to begin The Precisionists, Inc.?
I realized that by focusing on a person’s strengths and their ‘ability’ versus the ‘disability,’ that they could be terrific contributors to any employer. I wanted to set up a company completely focused on creating over 10,000 jobs for neurodiverse people over the next 5-10 years.
What is one of the biggest benefits to employing people with disabilities that you want every company to know about?
The most important benefit is that neurodiverse individuals are high performers and can add tremendous value to any company if they are properly prepared and properly deployed. A great secondary benefit is that, up to now, over 75 – 80% of people with disabilities have been under- or un-employed. We are changing all that!
What is one of the smallest changes a company can make to have more inclusive hiring practices?
The smallest change a company can make is to just take the time to learn about successful programs that are out there and become educated in neurodiversity. The awareness is the first important step.
What would you tell a company who says they think its too hard to hire people with disabilities?
I would encourage them to speak with other companies who have already taken the journey with us. Companies like UBS, Asurion, Tractor Supply, and Vanderbilt University.
What is something working with people with disabilities has taught you about yourself as an employer?
Working with people with disabilities has taught me that everyone, whether neurotypical or neurodiverse, has special abilities to add value in an organization. The most innovative companies of the future will be the ones who have a diverse and inclusive workforce.
We’re looking forward to learning more from Ernie Dianastasis April 13th, 2021 as our DEAL Keynote Speaker! This year DEAL is virtual and free. Register today to reserve your spot.