October 12 – Billy Franklin (NDEAM Success Story)

Celebrating Our Successes!

Reflecting the important role that different perspectives play in workforce success, this year’s National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) theme is “Inclusion Drives Innovation.” Observed each October, NDEAM celebrates the contributions of workers with disabilities and educates about the value of a workforce inclusive of their skills and talents.

The Philadelphia “Employment 1st, Employment NOW!” Steering Committee is celebrating this year’s event with a month of employment success stories. Each day you will be receiving an email containing a new story about someone who is contributing to their community through employment. We invite you to join us as we celebrate their successes!

Meet Bill Franklin, of Soul Man Jewelry

Billy Franklin is a kind, talented, and generous young man who has faced many challenges in his life, especially with the passing of his father when he was 16 years old. Being on the Autism Spectrum can often be a struggle, but Billy chooses to let his challenges be his fuel to succeed rather than thinking of them as a hindrance. His greatest desire was to become as independent as possible, and the biggest step towards independence has been the start of his own business, called “Soul Man Jewelry.”

necklace created by Billy Franklin of Soul Man JewelryBilly began creating bracelets and necklaces shortly after the passing of his father. At first, he was only selling to classmates and teachers, but now he sells through the popular website “Etsy”, and at local craft fairs and jewelry shows, to help expand his business and make it easier for others to purchase his art. Starting his own business at the age of 16 is impressive, but Billy has taken it one step further by donating a portion of his proceeds to Autism Speaks.

In addition to his own business, Bill is supported by JEVS at Home Depot, where he is employed part-time. He keeps the parking lot clear and safe by collecting shopping carts.

You can learn more about Billy Franklin, and his business Soul Man Jewelry, by checking out his Etsy website and Facebook page .

~ submitted by Partnerships for Community Supports