If you are looking for a job but are not sure which companies hire adults with high functioning autism or Asperger’s this list of 10 companies that hire adults with high-functioning autism or Asperger’s will definitely help you find your answer. Finding a secure employment and having a dream job is hard for everyone but especially for those with autism spectrum disorder. For adults with autism spectrum disorder, including high-functioning autism and Asperger’s, employment opportunities are very scarce. The problem arises as soon as these individuals finish high-school. There are a lot of government-funded educational institutions and care facilities for children and youth with autism spectrum disorder but as soon as they graduate there is almost no place for them to go. This is confirmed by a report published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. According to this report only 20% of young adults with ASD worked at a full-time job, earning only $8,10 per hour which is significantly lower than the average wage of individuals who are not on the spectrum. The conclusion of this study states that population with ASD is experiencing particular difficulties while transitioning into employment. Their combined unemployment and underemployment rate is around 90%, according to Huffington Post.
One of the main reasons for this situation is the lack of understanding of people with ASD. The very nature of ASD makes individuals on the spectrum less prone to communication and social interaction. While a lot of individuals with ASD developmental that can impair communication skills, speech and fine motor skill, those who are on high end of the spectrum (including those with high-functioning autism and Asperger’s) usually have mild symptoms which are often limited to impaired social skills. Very few employers understand that those on the spectrum have desirable qualities such as high intelligence, attention to detail, very direct communication style and are able to focus on a single activity for a longer time period. Some jobs that are considered as boring and repetitive can be very rewarding and calming jobs for individuals with autism. Moreover, individuals on the spectrum frequently outperform their colleagues who are not on the spectrum, if they carefully choose a job they are good at. If you are wondering which jobs are suitable for individuals with high-functioning autism or Asperger’s, take a look at our list of Best Jobs for Adults with High-functioning Autism or Asperger’s Syndrome.
In order to compile this list of best companies that hire adults with high-functioning autism or Asperger’s, I relied on Google Search results to find the suggestions and I singled out companies listed on the following websites: Monster, Huffington Post, Forbes, Kerry Margo, The Autism Site Blog and The Atlantic. I’ve focused mostly on larger companies but I added a couple of smaller ones as well. Most companies on this list expand their programs for employment of adults with ASD which means that there are more job opportunities. Companies on this list state that they hire adults with autism spectrum disorder without specifically stating high-functioning autistic persons or those with Asperger’s. However, both HFA and AS adults are suitable for the jobs which these companies offer and in general, it is more likely that those on a high-functioning end (such as HFA and AS) will have traits and education necessary for these jobs. Companies on our list of companies that hire adults with high-functioning autism or Asperger’s are ranked without any special order.
In 2015, Microsoft launched a pilot program to hire people with autism. Microsoft’s corporate vice-president of worldwide operations, Mary Ellen Smith, who has an autistic son came across this idea. The goal of this program is to attract persons with autism that can benefit the company. People with high-functioning autism or Asperger’s are often very talented and dedicated when it comes to computer programming and computer-based jobs in general so this is really a great opportunity to use their talents and offer employment and regular salary in return. When it comes to the application process, once the person gets through the early stages of consideration he/she goes through intense back-on-back interviews. This is a common practice in most companies, including Microsoft. However, this specific program is designed in such a way that individuals with ASD work on various projects on the campus for two weeks. During this period they are observed and they participate in informal interviews. With this unorthodox approach, Microsoft can definitely secure some genius employers with unique talents.
9. Chocolate Spectrum
Besides tech industry, there are some really sweet jobs for adults with HFA and AS. The Chocolate Spectrum is a small artisan chocolate company founded by Valerie Herskowitz, also a parent of an autistic child. After her son graduated, she decided to start this business in order to provide him with meaningful and purposeful activity. She explains that not only her son got a job, but his whole personality improved and he became a much happier person. This company provides training and jobs for individuals with ASD and you can see how that looks like in this video. You can find out more information on their official website but be careful; you should have at least one chocolate bar near especially if you have a sweet tooth.
8. Spectrum Designs
In 2011 Spectrum Designs company was founded by Stella Spanakos, mother of an autistic child. It started with 2 teens with autism, 1 piece of equipment and ideas how to create unique designs for T-shirts in the backyard of her house. Soon afterward, this small business gained momentum and in 2013, Spectrum Designs moved to a new 1500 square foot location. Annual sales reach $250,000. The company keeps growing and consequently employment opportunities for those on the spectrum also rise. To find out more, take a look at their official website.
7. Computer Aid, Inc
Computer Aid, the next in line on our list of companies that hire adults with high-functioning autism or Asperger’s offers jobs for individuals with ASD in various metropolitan areas including Chicago, New York, Delaware, Pittsburg, Philadelphia and many others. Jobs are focused on IT sector and they vary from scanning and data entry to more complicated jobs such as software development and testing. They try to help by providing meaningful IT careers for individuals with autism while at the same time their company benefits from skills and talents of their workers with ASD. More information is available on this link.
6. Freddie Mac
Freddie Mac is a Virginia-based mortgage-finance firm. They’ve been hiring college graduates with ASD since 2011 through a partnership with ASAN (Autistic Self Advocacy Network). Young adults with high-functioning autism or Asperger’s with degrees in computer science, finance and mathematics are welcomed to seek for employment in this company. Freddie Mac’s diversity manager stated that there has been “a certain perception of this population as being incapable of performing corporate level work but in reality people on the spectrum offer so much to the organization”. Their project was also described as successful and they keep hiring new workers with autism.
SAP is a huge software company which hires people with autism spectrum disorder to do jobs related to analytics and software testing, which is why it found its place on our list of 10 companies that hire adults with high-functioning autism or Asperger’s. Once again, the idea came from a parent who noticed that his autistic son possesses many skills which are high on his company’s radar such as good memory, high intelligence, attention to detail and ability to see patterns. Thorkil Sonne argued that there is no reason to leave people with ASD unemployed when there are so many vacant jobs in the tech industry and these individuals might be a perfect fit. Another interesting fact about this company is that despite being competitors to Microsoft, once they heard that Microsoft is starting their own autism hiring program, SAP shared their experiences and insights.
4. Extraordinary Ventures
Extraordinary Ventures, that’s up next on our list of companies that hire adults with high-functioning autism or Asperger’s is a North Carolina based company offering employment opportunities for individuals on the spectrum. They operate six ventures: a pickup and delivery laundry service, an office services company, a business that produces and markets premium candles, a bus detailing service, a dog-walking service and they also have events center that rents space for conferences and meetings. It is a non-profit organization focused on creating and nurturing small businesses for people with disabilities including those with autism spectrum disorder. For more information, take a look at their website.
3. Platinum Bay Technologies
We are continuing our list of companies that hire adults with high-functioning autism or Asperger’s with Platinum Bay Technologies that is a software company founded with the mission to make a large impact and difference on the autism community. According to their mission statement, Platinum Bay’s goal is to empower people with autism and help them find their own success as well as to help erase the stigma of autism. Platinum Bay Technologies founder, Steve Andrews, was diagnosed with Asperger’s at the age of 33. This gave him additional motivation to create a working environment where people with autism spectrum disorder can be successful. He gave a lengthy interview explaining how he wants to create a comfortable working environment for those on the spectrum because being good at technology is simply not enough if they feel uncomfortable in the working place. You can read more about Platinum Bay Technologies on their official website.
2. Ford Motor Company
In collaboration with Autism Alliance of Michigan, Ford Motor Company, one of the companies that hire adults with high-functioning autism or Asperger’s, started a pilot program that provides an opportunity for individuals with ASD to gain work experience in their company. There are different job positions suited for individuals with high-functioning autism or Asperger’s. For example, in the vehicle evaluation and verification test lab, the work is highly structured, requires attention to detail and a great deal of focus, all of which are specialties of individuals with ASD. For more information, take a look at their official website.
One of the companies that help reduce the unemployment rate of persons with ASD is Walgreens. Their pilot program of employing people with ASD started in 2007 in Anderson, South Carolina. More than 40% out of their 700 employees are people with special needs. The whole project actually started as something very personal and the idea came from Walgreens’ Executive Randy Lewis, whose son is autistic. Mr. Lewis explains that this was not an act of charity but simply an equal employment opportunity for everyone. This idea had such strong results that facility in Anderson turned out to be the most productive one. You can read more about Walgreens on their official website.We hope that you are already filling out applications for some of the companies on our list of 10 companies that hire adults with high-functioning autism or Asperger’s.