According to Leslie Long and Dave Kearon, vice president and director of adult service at Autism Speaks, most people aspire to be competitively employed in a job, including people with autism. However, a research from Drexel University showed that working age group with autism are less likely to be hired than other disability groups. “National data indicates that the vast majority of adults with autism are either unemployed or underemployed, with estimates ranging to as high as 90 percent.” This condition could be attributed to poor performance of individuals with autism and lack of understanding or information around the disorder.
Nonetheless, Long and Kearon commented that adults with ASDs (autism spectrum disorder) could do quite well in a wide variety of industries and at all ranks within business around the world. “But for the vast majority, these job opportunities are not being made available for them,” said Long. Fortunately, employers’ perspective might change. With rising awareness in today’s society, employers will likely see the advantage of hiring autistic candidates.
According to Hire Autism, here are some top lists of autism-friendly employers and companies across the world.
Microsoft has their own hiring platform that is dedicated for disabled individuals including autism. They described the program as recruitment, retention, and career development strategy related to diversity and inclusion. Their programs include a multi-day-hands-on academy focusing on workability, team projects, and skills assessments. Thus, candidates can showcase their unique talents and meet hiring managers and teams while learning about Microsoft as an employer choice.
AMC focused programs is to develop program specifically directed toward hiring individuals with disability. According to AMC’s websites, they provides disabled individuals with access to opportunities for competitive employment, wages, and benefits side-by-side with other associates in their theatres. They also form a partnership with Autism Speaks.
Walmart is among autism-friendly employer as they believe that “the key to growing is by fostering a workplace culture whether everyone is – and feels –included, including those with autism.” Ben Hasan, chief diversity and inclusion officer at Walmart, stated, “That’s the essence of our mission – to create an inclusive culture where all associates work together to deliver on our shared purpose.”
REDI or Retail Employees with Disabilities is one of programs in Walgreens. This program is designed especially for disabled individuals to work with local agencies. They provide externs with training in specific skill areas and evaluate each individual to place them appropriately. REDI also designed to give their graduates a ‘recommend for hire’ designation if the scores is 3.0 or higher. Also, the graduates can bypass standard Hurly Selector assessment if applying for CSA roles at Walgreens and will be able to apply for CSA positions nationwide.
Freddie Mac partners with the Autistic Self advocacy Network to create an Autism Internship Program. The program is designed to match business needs with unique capabilities of individuals with ASD. The program also allows company to reach more talents with ASD who are expert in fields such as computer science, mathematics, and finance.
After understanding what unique characteristics of those with autism can bring to organisation, Ford created a program called FordInclusiveWorks with specific goal of hiring and supporting employees on autism spectrum. They’ve worked with Product Development Evaluation and Verification supervisors and Human Resources department to review jobs. Then, all participants who completed the program successfully are invited to apply for a position with Ford.