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Global Leadership Institute

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

Advancing Innovative Solutions for Home and Community Development.

Developed by distinguished leaders in this highly specialized field, the Leadership Institute is focused on pressing concerns for accessibility to more community, housing and independent living options for individuals with autism and other neurodiversities. It serves as a multidisciplinary, hands-on training center for professionals, educators, support staff and medical personnel, as well as a robust site for research and advancements in public policy.

The First Place Global Leadership Institute’s five centers facilitating the critical work and impact of First Place include collaborates with international experts and industry leaders through its five centers:

Maricopa County IDA Center for Education, Training & Employment

Make Waves Center for Community Development

Colonel Harland Sanders Center for Applied Research

Mulzet Center for Expression

The First Place Global Leadership Institute addresses 10 priority issues:


of Life




“Handicapped,” dependency mindset


Housing Crisis

Limited options, high cost/demand, dwindling government resources


Business Model

Scarcity of proven outcomes, replicable programs and private capital


Support Staff

Low wages, limited training, high turnover


Public Policy

Dated; limited innovation and integration



Need for large-scale initiatives defining best practices


Adult Medical Care

Too few practitioners on the cutting edge of autism servicing/supporting patients


Technology Platforms

Too varied and ever-changing; need for leveraging and maximizing



Broad range of diversity; lack of segmentation


The Global Leadership Institute hosts an annual symposium, attracting pioneers in a variety of fields from across the country and around the world. Attendees gather to share ideas for advancing a new wave of home and community solutions through replicable, sustainable models and public, private, nonprofit and philanthropic collaboration.

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Curriculum Licensing

Learn4Independence® is a 32-course, scaffolded curriculum developed for adults with autism that focuses on skills to promote independent living and employment. Unique curriculum elements accommodate various types of learning differences and incorporate universally designed instruction adaptable to your community and cultural needs.
Learn4Independence PPT Preview


D.I.G. (Define, Investigate, Ground)™ is a framework offered through the First Place Global Leadership Institute for advancing local community and real estate development. Various levels of consulting include lessons learned, toolkits, ways to save you time and money—and reduce mistakes along the way.

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As a resource to organizations committed to serving special populations and their families, the Leadership Institute has developed a variety of toolkits addressing specific areas to meet an organization’s needs— throughout specific or all stages of the project.

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Under the auspices of the Leadership Institute and in partnership with Arizona State University’s Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions, the First Place Doctoral Fellowship focuses on an applied approach to research, assessment and intervention, family support, service coordination, community integration, community development and public policy. Fellowships aim to develop leaders in the fields of education, training, research and services for adults age 18 and older with autism and other neurodiversities.

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