The D'Eri family, owners of Rising Tide Car Wash in Parkland, Fla., have been invited to speak at an upcoming autism conference. (Photo: PRNewsFoto/Rising Tide Car Wash)

The D’Eri family, owners of Rising Tide Car Wash in Parkland, Fla., have been invited to speak at an upcoming autism conference. (Photo: PRNewsFoto/Rising Tide Car Wash)

The autism community is celebrating a family-owned car wash business in Parkland, Fla., for its commitment to hiring employees who have autism. The company, Rising Tide Car Wash, is part of an encouraging trend among car wash businesses to help adults with disabilities or developmental disorders find meaningful employment and a steady wage.

In recognition of their work, John and Thomas D’Eri, co-founders of the car wash, are scheduled to speak at two big upcoming conferences put on in part by Autism Speaks, one of the nation’s leading organizations devoted to issues surrounding autism. Today, they appeared in Chapel Hill, N.C., representing the car wash industry at a gathering billed as an initiative Advancing the Role and Impact of Small Businesses in Employing Adults with Autism. Then on Feb. 7, the D’Eri family will again be the face of car wash small businesses at a TEDx conference in Coconut Grove, Fla.

“Being selected to speak at these events are incredible opportunities to make a difference, inspiring communities to redefine their perception of the capabilities that people with autism have,” said John D’Eri said in a statement. News of their appearances was first reported at CarWash.com.

Car wash owners have said they see great value added in their small businesses by employing people whom others might overlook while hiring. The Car Wash Business Blog recently wrote about a car wash chain in Arizona that made a point of hiring dozens of people with various disabilities, including blindness, and was featured on the local television news station. The owner of that company, Mister Car Wash, told the station that it wasn’t about charity. Rather, “these are hard-working, grateful and compassionate employees, who deserve an equal chance to make a living, and change their lives,” the station said.

According to a news release, the D’Eri family’s Rising Tide Car Wash is among the most active employers of people with autism in the country:

With 30-plus employees, Rising Tide is one of the largest employers of people with autism in the U.S. Through intensive training, team building and caring for the community, Rising Tide sets its employees up for success. With this model, Rising Tide has a goal to provide people with autism with an opportunity to build a career and achieve an independent lifestyle.

Currently, unemployment among people with autism is approximately 90 percent, and at least 500,000 more individuals with autism will enter the workforce in the next decade.