CoorDown normalizes Down syndrome in the workplace

The campaign includes a partnership with LinkedIn to connect employers and prospective hires.

To celebrate World Down Syndrome day on March 21, nonprofit organization CoorDown launched “The Hiring Chain,” a global awareness campaign that encourages employers to hire people with Down syndrome.

The campaign, led by New York-based creative agency SMALL and Indiana Productions, kicks off with a spot that highlights people with Down syndrome in professional roles set to a performance by grammy-award winning artist Sting.

“When we talk to people with Down syndrome and their families, there are two things that they always say are fundamental for them — independence, like living by themselves, and having a job, because a job for them is as important as it is for all of us to be feel independent,” said Luca Pannesse, co-founder and executive creative director at SMALL New York. “It makes them feel that they really count in their role in society.”

The campaign was completed ahead of last year’s World Down Syndrome Day, days before lockdowns hit across the globe. CoorDown held off on the release because it felt the moment wasn’t right.

But 12 months into a global pandemic, and after national reckoning over equity and inclusivity, that moment has come.

“There is a lot of energy and willingness to help,” said Luca Pannesse, who co-founded SMALL with partner Luca Lorezini. “Let's take advantage of this moment and include [people with Down syndrome] in the effort for the reconstruction of a post-COVID world.”

As part of the campaign, CoorDown partnered with LinkedIn to create a website where employers can connect with participating organizations that help people with Down syndrome find jobs. The website also includes information about how to create an inclusive workplace.

“If people would see more people with Down syndrome working, they would understand that [they] can actually do things and be helpful,” Lorezini said. “That could create a virtuous chain.”

SMALL has previously worked with CoorDown on several other campaigns, which have won numerous accolades, including gold Cannes Lions.

The campaign is supported by the Down's Syndrome Association in the UK and Down Syndrome Australia with the patronage of Down Syndrome International. It will run on social media with the hashtags #HiringChain, #WorldDownSyndromeDay and #WDSD21.

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