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Autism@Work Hiring Programs: Keys to Success

September 19th, 2019

By Marcia Scheiner, President, Integrate Autism Employment Advisors

The buzz about the benefits of hiring individuals with autism is moving through the employment world and more and more companies are jumping on the Autism@Work hiring program bandwagon.  We like to quote Dr. Stephen Shore’s saying, “If you’ve met one person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism.” Creating a program to hire people with autism takes careful thought and planning to ensure the success for each individual you hire. While every company will have their own approach, certain elements are critical to the success of any Autism@Work hiring program. Two of those elements are an assessment and education & training.

First, a company needs to conduct a thorough assessment of their corporate culture, work environment, job requirements/descriptions, HR practices (including interviewing, on-boarding and performance management) and disability support services to ensure they are autism friendly before embarking on any hiring initiative.

Second, education & training about how autism presents in the workplace, interviewing techniques and management strategies needs to be provided to all hiring managers, recruiters, HR business partners and colleagues who will be working with autistic employees, again, before any hiring initiative is undertaken.  The broader the audience for this training, the better.  Assessments and education & training should precede the hiring of the first autistic employees of an Autism@Work program but are also elements that should be continuous throughout the life of a program as it develops and grows within an organization.  Employers incorporating these elements into their Autism@Work programs have been the most successful in attracting and retaining neuro-diverse employees.

Marcia Scheiner is the President and Founder of Integrate Autism Employment Advisors (“Integrate”) and the author of “An Employer’s Guide to Managing Professionals on the Autism Spectrum” (Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2017). Prior to founding Integrate in 2010, Ms. Scheiner held senior management positions at Zurich Financial Services, Chase Manhattan Bank and Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce.  Ms. Scheiner is a graduate of Wellesley College and has an MBA from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Business.  She is the parent of a young adult son with Asperger Syndrome.

Integrate Autism Employment Providers is a non-profit that works with organizations to help them identify, recruit and retain qualified professionals on the autism spectrum.  Integrate helps companies become autism friendly employers of college graduates with autism by providing assessment, education and training, recruiting and ongoing support services to those organizations.

Learn more about our special needs planning and special education advocacy services at www.littmankrooks.com or www.specialneedsnewyork.com.


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