· By Jason Katz
5 Autism Friendly Employers: Combatting Massive Unemployment Rate of Adults With Autism
The current unemployment rate among adults with autism and other developmental disabilities is around 85%. While there are multiple reasons for the disparity between this unemployment rate and the general population’s unemployment rate (which comes in at around 3.9%), a major one is a typical workplace lack of understanding and accommodation for Disabled people.
However, with an increase in awareness of autism and an increase in the demand for workers with the skills, thought patterns, and work ethic that are commonly seen among people on the spectrum, comes more opportunity. More and more employers are dedicating themselves to more inclusivity and understanding of people on the autism spectrum. Here are five!
Popcorn for the People
Popcorn for the People was created with the sole purpose of providing equal and meaningful employment opportunities for adults with autism and other developmental disabilities. All of our workers go through an interview process and are trained and matched to specific job tasks which best suit their individual skills. Our workers on the spectrum are part of a work environment in which they are accepted and treated with dignity.
Ernst and Young
Ernst and Young is an international accounting firm that has discovered how important the inclusion of neurodiversity is to its bottom line. Their website states, “A neurodiverse world is a better working world.” Ernst and Young is “addressing strategic business issues by leveraging an often-overlooked pool of talent — people on the autism spectrum.” Due to how technologically inclined people with autism often are, as well as their attention to detail and strong skills in mathematics, pattern recognition, analytics, and information processes, Ernst and Young has a high demand for neurodiverse workers.
Additionally, Ernst and Young provides resources which specialize in recruiting and screening neurodiverse candidates, as well as trainers who help adjust neurodiverse hires to the business environment.
Microsoft’s website states, “From the very first days of our company, Microsoft has sought to enable individuals and organizations around the world to do great things,” and they put this idea into practice with their Inclusive Hiring Programs. One of such programs is the Microsoft Autism Hiring Program: “The goal of this program is to attract talent and build an inclusive approach to support individuals on the autism spectrum that will contribute to the way we work as a company in building and servicing our products.” Microsoft’s ultimate goal is to increase the percentage of employees with disabilities working at their company.
AMC is devoted to employing people of different backgrounds, generations, philosophies, and traditions in their workforce. They created FOCUS program (Furthering Opportunities, Cultivating Untapped Strengths) in order to “provide individuals affected by disabilities with access to opportunities for competitive employment, wages, and benefits side-by-side with other associates in our theatres.”
AMC is also partnered with Autism Society which “increases public awareness and provides the latest information regarding treatment, education, research and advocacy.”
Teaming up with the Autism Alliance of Michigan, Ford worked to understand the unique characteristics of people on the autism spectrum in order to launch a program called FordInclusiveWorks. The Autism Alliance of Michigan sent staff to Ford to evaluate which jobs would be most suitable for the particular strengths of those with autism. Ford’s website states that “This aligns with the company’s mission to contribute to a better world by supporting the community. In addition, it honors the special talents of people with autism, such as their keen attention to detail.”
Want to see Popcorn for the People's continued efforts to support the autistic community? Follow our social medias to follow our journey!