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Leadership Institute

Impacting education, business, housing, healthcare and public policy.

First Place Leadership Institute: Advancing Innovation Solutions for Home and Community Development.

The mission of the Institute is to increase the number of housing options for individuals with autism and other neuro-diversities and to develop a field of leaders advancing promising and best practices. 

The First Place Leadership Institute is already collaborating with international experts and industry leaders through its five centers:

  • Maricopa County IDA Center for Training, Education & Employment
  • Center for Real Estate & Community Development
  • Colonel Harland Sanders Center for Applied Research
  • Mulzet Center for Expression/Communication
  • Center for Public Policy

First Place will soon offer specialized training and certification programs to exponentially increase the number of high-quality, well-trained and credentialed direct support service providers, making it a valued career for the best and the brightest.

Developed by distinguished leaders in this highly specialized field, the Leadership Institute offers direct experience for a broad range of sectors related to how the greater community can serve as an independent living classroom. The Institute also focuses on multidisciplinary study and research for educators and medical professionals, enabling the creation of more residential options that support greater independence. It is designed to offer hands-on training and development for professionals seeking careers working with individuals with developmental disabilities.

The Institute’s nationally respected faculty includes leaders in the field of autism and other special abilities. The faculty is currently forming and already involves some of our nation’s most respected thought leaders in adult services and supports.

First Place Leadership Institute addresses 10 priority issues:

  1. Quality of Life


  2. Isolation

    “Handicapped,” dependency mindset

  3. Housing Crisis

    Limited options, high cost/demand, dwindling government resources

  4. Business Models

    Scarcity of proven outcomes, replicable programs and private capital

  5. Support Services

    Low wages, limited training, high turnover

  6. Public Policy

    Dated; limits innovation and true integration

  7. Research

    Need for large-scale initiatives defining best practices

  8. Adult Medical Care

    Unacceptable; few practitioners on cutting edge of autism and service to/support of patients

  9. Technology Platforms

    Varied and ever changing; need to leverage and maximize

  10. Heterogeneity

    Broad range of diversity; no form of segmentation