Employers of People with Autism

Businesses around the world are recognizing the many strengths of adults with autism and their contributions to the workforce. Many companies have stepped forward to establish autism and neurodiversity hiring initiatives. Autism Speaks can help businesses explore this and other options, and educate managers and recruiters on how we can best support our coworkers with autism. 

The rate of unemployment and underemployment among young adults and adults with autism is far too high, and Autism Speaks is committed to doing all we can to help change that.

Autism & Disability Visual Integration Company Experience (ADVICE)

Autism Speaks is proud to collaborate with NEXT for AUTISM and the Poses Family Foundation to expand ADVICE, a program that helps companies develop initiatives to hire, train and retain employees with autism. ADVICE also works with companies to design autism-friendly environments in order to improve worker and customer experiences.

ADVICE is an innovative disability consultancy that is committed to creating meaningful employment opportunities for adults with autism. It is also designed to teach our partner businesses to sustain and grow their hiring programs on their own over time.

ADVICE logo and the cofunders, Autism Speaks, NEXT for AUTISM, and Poses Family Foundation

Autism @ Work Employer Playbook: Finding talent and creating meaningful employment opportunities for people with autism

The Autism @ Work Playbook is the product of a collaborative research project led by Dr. Hala Annabi, an associate professor at the University of Washington Information School. To create this guide, the ACCESS-IT Research Group at the Information School studied the Autism @ Work programs of four leading employers: Microsoft, SAP, JPMorgan Chase and EY.

In their research, Dr. Annabi and her team systematically examined how the firms established their programs and how they sustain them. The researchers analyzed key organizational strategies, employment and resourcing models, and hiring and onboarding practices. In their analysis, the researchers distilled best practices and developed this guide for other organizations to use to get their programs started.

Autism at Work Playbook cover image
Autism at Work Company Playbook









Impact Sourcing in Action: Autism Empowerment Kit

Autism Speaks was proud to partner with Microsoft and others to produce the Autism Empowerment Kit in 2017. The kit 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 Empowerment 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. 

Cover of the Autism Empowerment Kit

Explore the Autism Empowerment Kit here.

Establishing an Effective Neurodiversity Employment Program: Legal Issues

We are thrilled that there is growing interest among businesses to explore how they can set up their own autism or neurodiversity hiring initiatives. Companies are increasingly reaching out to Autism Speaks and others with questions about how to put together an effective program.

In some cases, reasonable concerns and legal questions arise that threaten to slow the growth and replication of autism hiring at some businesses. These concerns are valid, but they can be effectively addressed and overcome. There is always risk, but companies that have come before you have shown that it is a manageable risk - and well worth it.

In August 2018, we were proud to collaborate with legal experts from Duane Morris, LLPSAP, and Cornell University's Yang-Tan Institute on Employment and Disability to present this webinar that addresses some of these legal issues

Disability Employment and Inclusion: Your Guide to Success 

As part of a national funders' collaborative, Autism Speaks is proud to partner with the Workplace Initiative at the Poses Family Foundation. The Workplace Initiative helps companies recruit, hire, and retain the largest untapped labor pool in the country – people with disabilities. This site offers all the tools and resources a business needs to embark on its inclusion journey. It includes facts and case studies to show how disability inclusion drives business value and a do-it-yourself guide that will take you from “how” to “hired” in seven clear steps. The Disability Employment and Inclusion: Your Guide to Success was published in 2017. 

Cover of the Workplace Initiative's Disability Employment and Inclusion Guide


TheSpectrumCareers.com: a tool for job seekers with autism and the business community! Autism Speaks, in collaboration with Rangam Consultants Inc., launched this jobs portal to promote inclusive employment of people with autism. This free tool helps to match job seekers on the spectrum with businesses, as well as with local employment service providers (i.e. supported employment agencies and job coaches). Sign up today

Inclusion@Work: A Framework for Building a Disability-Inclusive Organization

This 7-step guide was developed by the Employer Assistance and Resource Network on Disability Inclusion (EARN), a free resource that is funded by the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP). Developed with input from a range of employers with exemplary track records in disability employment, Inclusion@Work outlines seven core components of a disability-inclusive workplace, along with a menu of strategies for achieving them.

Inclusion@Work framework for building a disability-inclusive organization

Employer's Guide to Hiring and Retaining Employees with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs)

This addendum to our Employment Tool Kit (for job seekers with autism) is a manageable 12-page document for business executives. Use this supplement to help start the conversation at your place of work!

Explore the tool kit for employers here.

What is a State Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Agency, and how can it help my business?

  • It’s a state- and federally-funded agency that can help an employer by offering on-the-job training for qualified individuals with employment barriers (including autism).

  • It can provide a job coach to assist qualified job seekers or employees with employment barriers to overcome those barriers to be effective on the job.

  • VR agencies assist individuals who experience barriers to employment through a range of education and training services.

Find your state Vocational Rehabilitation Agency.

Additional Resources

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You can also reach the Autism Response Team by phone or email: 888-288-4762, en Espanol 888-772-7050, or help@autismspeaks.org.