In an article entitled Creating Great Employees (Who Happen to Be Autistic), Forbes.com highlights the work of Specialisterne, a Danish company founded in 2004 by the father of a now teenager with autism. The company is working to enable one million jobs for people with autism and similar challenges through social entrepreneurship, corporate sector engagement and a global change in mind-set.
As described on their website, Specialisterne harnesses the special characteristics and talents of people with autism and uses them as a competitive advantage, and as a means to help people with autism secure meaningful employment.
One example is Tobias Ussing, a 30-year-old with Asperger Syndrome who built what has become the official YouTube plug-in for the Xbox Media Center three years ago yet was struggling to find work. Ussing says that Specialisterne "got him out of the gutter" by hiring him a year ago. SInce then, he has had the opportunity to work on a variety of projects.
“Every month I’m here I have more energy," he says. "I can get more done. Just that you have to get up in the morning and go to work does a lot.”
Specialisterne has operations in numerous locations around the world. The U.S. headquarters in Delaware was started after Governor Jack Markell learned about the company's mission. The state will fund assessment training for prospective Specialisterne employees. Its current aim is to raise funding for new locations and a national support organization.
In order to promote employment of individuals with autism, Autism Speaks has been hitting the road as part of our Small Business Initiative Town Hall series. There are three cities left we will visit in November - Miami, FL (Nov. 11), St. Louis, MO (Nov. 6) and Boston, MA (Nov. 18). The Boston Town Hall will take place at Fenway Park where the World Series champion will be crowned in the next few days!
For more information about obtaining jobs for individuals with autism, check out the Autism Speaks Employment Tool Kit here.