News from Northwest ADA Center – Idaho
Expand Diversity in the Workplace
An Information Technology consulting company is betting that the push to diversify the workplace should extend to an applicant’s brain.
Auticon is a company that exclusively employs adults on the autism spectrum at IT consultants, and will be setting up a regional headquarters in Columbus Ohio. “There’s a skills shortage in this area,” said David Aspinall, the CEO in the U.S. “We can bring to bear talent that does have a performance advantage and, at the same time, help people.”
The company is receiving tax incentives to hire 50 people with disabilities, though the company’s launch has been slowed by the pandemic.
With 15 offices around the world, they employ more than 220 IT consultants on the autism spectrum. They provide services in areas such as business analytics, artificial intelligence and software development and migration.
Many adults with autism struggle with employment despite having skill sets that can excel in the workplace. Various studies peg the unemployment and underemployment rate for those with autism at 80% or even 90% said Kerry Magro, who is on the board of directors for the National Autism Association. At the same time, about a third of those with autism have a college degree. Magro, who also has autism, said many companies believe hiring people on the spectrum is too costly. Yet workers with autism are less likely to take time off and more likely to stay with a company longer.
Applicants with autism often don’t disclose they have autism during the interview process and many find the interviews taxing. What often works better is for applicants to have a daylong tryout to show what they are capable of doing. And coaches and mentors can help them adapt.
JPMorgan Chase & Co. has a program called Autism at Work and has hired about 30 workers on the autism spectrum in Columbus Ohio, most of whom hold technology positions.
Auticon hopes to create positive change in the underemployment rate and hires workers at various levels of experience. The organization has an appreciation for inclusion. One of it’s clients, CoverMyMeds, has already placed one worker with autism and a second will join shortly. Diversity, equity, and inclusion are embedded in its culture. Bringing people with different backgrounds and abilities is good for business.
For more information about the ADA contact:
Dana Gover, MPA, and ACTCP Certification, ADA Training and Technical Assistance Coordinator
For more information about ADA Technical Assistance visit the NW ADA Center Idaho website: nwadacenter.org/idaho
Phone: Voice and Text 208-841-9422
Idaho Relay Service: 7