Some adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have long and fulfilling careers without many problems, while others struggle with holding down employment.
In fact, Autism Speaks reports that more than half of young adults with autism do not find jobs or attain higher education in the two years after high school, and only 58 percent of autistic adults in their 20s are employed.
The good news is that companies like Dell are starting to make a full-time career more achievable for adults with disabilities like ASD. Dell launched a program a year ago aimed at training and employing adults with ASD.
The program involves two weeks of training and a 12-week summer internship, which can turn into a full-time job at the tech company in areas such as decision science, robotic process automation, software engineering and business operations.
In the program’s first year, 12 adults went through the training and at least two ended up securing full-time employment with the company.
The program, which launched in Massachusetts, is being expanded to other states, including Texas. The chief diversity and inclusion officer for Dell said that the company is moving slowly to create a durable framework that can be used by other companies as well.
The Dell spokesperson said that the effort is part of the company’s larger mission to focus on diversity in its workforce.
It is great that Dell is taking this initiative and hopefully many other companies follow suit. Many adults with disabilities like ASD can be great employees with the proper training and support.
Until that happens, Social Security Disability benefits will continue to provide a lifeline for adults with disabilities who are unable to support themselves through full-time employment.
Source: Disability Scoop, “Dell Hiring Program Aims To Create Opportunity For Adults With ASD,” Nicole Cobler, Austin American-Statesman/TNS, April 5, 2019