Autism in the workforce: Why hiring an individual with autism is an asset

There is a need for greater acceptance of autism within society and diversity in the workforce.

The hustle and bustle around the ICare4Autism office indicates preparations are underway for our upcoming 3-day international conference. At the time of this blog, we have been focusing on Workforce, researching, and examining how autism is being addressed by companies in the workplace.

This year in the United States alone, the number of 18 year-olds with autism entering into the workforce or higher education will reach 50,000.  Employers are starting to realize the benefits of hiring workers with some level of autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

With 90% of people with ASD either being underemployed or unemployed, these companies are looking to bring diversity to their workforce by developing targeted recruiting and training programs that will enable this virtually untapped pool of potential job candidates to utilize invaluable talents and skills.

As reported by HRM America, Nancy Plotkin, HR director at the Center for Autism, said “People on the spectrum with ASD have an enormous power of concentration so as long as they’re trained… they really are a strong workforce to be reckoned with because they’re very precise.  Statistically they do show that they like repetitive tasks and they have a very strong attention to detail, complex analytical thinking.”

Plotkin noted, “It depends where they are on the spectrum and what their diagnosis is. So someone with a high level of Asperger’s would be a more analytical thinker. This is a very wide spectrum and people fall at different levels, but in most cases for people who are moderate, they work very well within the workplace with other people.”

There is a need for greater acceptance of autism within society and diversity in the workforce. The list of companies bringing autistic employees to their workforce includes AMC Theatres, Lowes, German software manufacturer, SAP, who has been utilizing targeting recruiting of specific skill-sets and Walgreens. Walgreens found their most productive workers at their distribution facility were those with ASD.  Mr. Randy Lewis, Walgreens’ former VP Supply Chain & Logistics is ICare4Autism’s conference keynote speaker on June 30th.

It will take significant changes in workplaces across the country to accommodate these individuals. Plotkin adds that employers benefit from employees who are autistic or are on the spectrum because they generally are loyal and reliable.

For more information about autism in the workforce, please visit: http://www.icare4autism.org/news/category/autism-advocacy/

For conference information or to register for the ICare4Autism International Autism Conference, please visit: http://www.icare4autism.org/events/2014-icare4autism-international-autism-conference/

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