In May 2017, Autism Speaks was proud to partner with Microsoft at its annual Microsoft Supplier Program (MSP) Summit in Redmond, Washington. Beyond Microsoft’s exciting direct Autism Hiring Program, the summit presented an opportunity to promote the employment of people with autism and other neurological differences to a much larger audience – the tens of thousands of members of Microsoft’s global supply chain.
Dave Kearon, Director of Adult Services at Autism Speaks, served on Microsoft’s Coalition for Disability Inclusion (CDI) Advisory Committee along with representatives from the Job Accommodation Network (JAN), the Employer Assistance Resource Network on Disabilty Inclusion (EARN), the US Business Leadership Network (USBLN), the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), and others. A key portion of the summit focused on the business case for disability inclusion and was entitled The Infinite Perspective – Untapped Talent Conference.
The conference was also accompanied by the release of the Autism Empowerment Kit, produced by Karen Streeby of Microsoft. Autism Speaks and others served as advisors and sponsors of the tool kit, which “provides employers with guidance, recommendations and resources for providing support and workplace accommodations to empower autistic employees throughout their employment lifecycle – from recruitment to training and career development.” The kit is available for free download thanks to the Global Impact Sourcing Coalition (GISC), a forum of the world’s leading companies committed to incorporate and scale impact sourcing as a business strategy. Members of the coalition, including Microsoft, advocate for inclusive employment practices and are committed to providing skills training and career advancement opportunities for individuals around the world who previously had limited employment prospects. Download the Autism Empowerment Kit here.
Autism Speaks thanks Tim Hopper, Microsoft’s Manager of Responsible Sourcing Initiatives, for his team’s commitment to increasing neurodiversity and autism employment, and for Microsoft’s wider commitment to impact sourcing and disability inclusion. As Hopper says, "For Microsoft, impact sourcing is about knocking down artificial barriers to employment and allowing high-potential individuals to bring their strengths to the marketplace. By partnering with our suppliers, we can bring people in who would not otherwise have an opportunity and support their success in the workplace."