Autism experts say this integration into the workplace is critical for those with autism to gain independence and improve their own quality of life. It’s not simply a stereotype to say that individuals with autism can possess astonishing and enlightened talents. Some with autism are highly artistic; some exhibit heightened memorization abilities; some are extremely adept with miniscule details.
Workers on the autism spectrum can contribute new potential and capacities to a company, thereby increasing not only the organization’s diversity, but also its range of capabilities. Thankfully, businesses are catching on to the advantage of hiring people on the spectrum.
This list features some of the top companies who are leading the push to integrate autism into their workplaces and actively hiring people on the autism spectrum.
- Walgreens saw the advantage of hiring people on the spectrum early. In 2007, they had their first pilot program of hiring people with autism in South Carolina, and the practice has spread to all its facilities around the nation. In 2012, the CEO of Walgreens announced that it would try to fill 20% of its distribution center jobs with people who had disabilities. Click here to see where their distribution centers are located and see if there’s a job in your area. This progressive company is even running a pilot program to hire and train people with autism to work in their stores!
- The Badger Mountain Orchard in Kennewick, Washington has found that adapting their interviewing and training process to be more autism-friendly has resulted in hiring many people on the spectrum who are dedicated to their jobs.
- Specialisterne is a company where the majority of their employees are on the autism spectrum. Employees work as business consultants, lending their unique perspective to fields like software testing, programming and data-entry for the public and private sectors. They have operations in many countries around the world.
- The Specialists Guild is a nonprofit social enterprise focused on working with people and companies so individuals with Autism can earn a living doing meaningful and fulfilling work. They are based in San Francisco. Click here to apply for training.
- The nonPareil Institute is dedicated to providing technical training, employment and housing to individuals who have been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. They train high-functioning adults with autism ages 18 and older on different aspects of video game and app design and development at a pace each student can manage. Get more information about admissions here.
- Aspiritech, a nonprofit based in Chicago has a program to train high-functioning people on the autism spectrum to test software for tech development companies.
- Nobis Works is a nonprofit organization in Georgia that specializes in job placement for people on the spectrum. They also offer training programs that last anywhere from three months to a year and are designed to teach the skills necessary to succeed in the workforce.
Unfortunately, not all businesses see the value of hiring people on the autism spectrum. Sign the pledge promoting individuals with autism in the workplace!