In 2020, the Entertainment Industry Foundation launched Delivering Jobs, a campaign to create employment opportunities for people with autism, intellectual and/or developmental differences. On the occasion of EIF’s 80th anniversary, actress and filmmaker Tal Anderson, who is autistic, spoke with THR on initiative.
OWhat motivated you to get involved in Delivering Jobs?
As an actor, I was originally asked to be part of the original 2019 Delivering Jobs campaign. It was a big campaign that included a public service announcement, a print ad, and an explosion of digital billboards in Times Square. I played a lead role as an art gallery owner, but also did voice-over narration for the 2019 and 2020 PSAs. Since then, I’ve been motivated to continue to promote the work of EIF and this campaign on my own, because I believe that the employment situation for people with disabilities in this country needs to change. I recently became officially involved in the continued promotion of this movement, and I am very honored to be an ambassador for the cause.
This campaign and this work hold a special place in my heart. I have autism and have faced job uncertainty despite having a college degree and extensive training in my field. I struggled with verbal apraxia, anxiety, and expressive language delay, which made it very difficult for me to get the interview process for the jobs I trained for. I also had a hard time deciding whether or not to disclose my disability for fear of discrimination, as people in general do not understand that my disability does not prevent me from being a valuable employee.
I have luckily found my footing in the entertainment industry and my acting career gives me a voice to support causes important to the disability community. The chance to participate in a campaign to promote employment for people with disabilities, and more specifically for autistic and neurodivergent people, is an opportunity for me to be part of a change that could help many people like me, and I am proud to be a small part of delivering such a necessary message.
In your opinion, what are the most important achievements of the organization?
I think just getting so many organizations on board and agreeing that we need to focus on promoting employment for people with disabilities is a major achievement in itself. Apart from that, however, I think a very important achievement is the amount of exposure EIF has been able to get with this campaign for Delivering Jobs. All of this work continues to engage the public in advocating for inclusion and equality, and as a person with a disability, that holds great promise for me.
A version of this story first appeared in the June 22 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.