John Cronin and his father, Mark X. Cronin, co-founders of John’s Crazy Socks, will testify before the U.S. House Committee on Small Business Wednesday, May 9. John is a 22-year-old man with Down syndrome. At the hearing titled “Ready, Willing, and Able to Work: How Small Businesses Empower People with Developmental Disabilities,” the Cronins will speak of how employing individuals with disabilities has contributed to the success of their small business. The two men will also address the ways our outdated laws force people with disabilities to choose between work and benefits and thus provide a disincentive to employment.
John Cronin said, “Every day, we work to show what is possible and I am excited to tell the members of Congress about my business and the work my colleagues do.” Founded in December 2016, John’s Crazy Socks has grown to ship over 98,000 orders and to earn $3.7 million in revenue. The business has created 33 jobs, 15 of which are held by people with differing ability.
Mark X. Cronin explains, “Part of our mission is to show what people with developmental disabilities can achieve. Our experience shows the benefits of focusing on what a person can do, not what he or she cannot do. We have a unified workplace – people of all abilities working side by side – and it leads to better morale, better retention and better productivity.”
John and Mark Cronin will also be speaking for the National Down Syndrome Society when they appear before Congress. NDSS President and CEO Sara Hart Weir said “John Cronin is a prime example of how an individual with Down syndrome is breaking barriers to prove that individuals with Down syndrome are ready, willing and able to work. People like John are why NDSS strives to create a world in which all individuals with Down syndrome can become valued members of communities — including within the workforce.”
Mark X. Cronin said, “Employers complain that they cannot find enough good workers, yet nearly 80 percent of the disabled are unemployed. We have this vast untapped pool of labor – a great national resource – that is ready, able and willing to work. We want people to see the benefits of hiring workers of all abilities. We hire people of differing abilities not out of altruism, but because it is good business.”
The Cronins are strong supporters of the NDSS Campaign to end “Law Syndrome”. As John says, “Down syndrome never holds me back, out of date laws do and that’s Law Syndrome.”
Mark explains, “People with disabilities are often dependent on their Medicaid coverage, yet if they work too many hours, they lose their Medicaid benefits. People should not be forced to choose between work and benefits.”
During their testimony, the Cronins’ will also advocate for the passage of the bipartisan H.R.1377, Transitioning to Integrated, Meaningful Employment (TIME) Act introduced by Rep. Gregg Harper (R-MS). This legislation seeks to end an 80 year-old law in section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) which still, in 2018, allows individuals with disabilities to pay wages less than the federal minimum wage to workers who have disabilities.
About John’s Crazy Socks
Founded by a young man with Down syndrome, John Cronin, and his Dad, Mark X. Cronin, John’s Crazy Socks has a simple mission: spreading happiness. We’re a social enterprise; we have a social and an e-commerce mission and the two are indivisible.
We have built our business on four pillars: 1. Inspiration and Hope: Every day, we show what people with intellectual disabilities can do when given an opportunity. 2. Giving Back: We donate 5 percent of our earnings to the Special Olympics and raise money for our charity partners through Awareness and Charity socks. 3. Socks You Can Love: We offer over 1,900 different socks. 4. Making It Personal:Every package gets a thank you note from John and some candy.
We opened in December 2016 in temporary space in Huntington Village making home deliveries. Now, we operate from a 6,400 square foot facility in Melville, New York, have created 33 jobs, employ 15 people with differing abilities, shipped 98,000 orders to 44 different countries and have raised over $100,000 for our charity partners. John and his business have been featured on Fox Business News, Money Magazine, the BBC, ABC-TV, CBS-TV and in many publications. To learn more, go to JohnsCrazySocks.comor email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The National Down Syndrome Society is the leading human rights organization for all individuals with Down syndrome. NDSS provides state-of-the-art, comprehensive programming to all individuals with Down syndrome and their families with four main areas of programming, which include the National Advocacy & Policy Center, the National Inclusive Health & Sports Program featuring our National Buddy Walk® Program, Community Outreach and Resources and Public Awareness. NDSS envisions a world in which all people with Down syndrome have the opportunity to enhance their quality of life, realize their life aspirations and become valued members of welcoming communities. For more information visit www.ndss.org.