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Calls to Action

Making accommodations so employees with autism reach their potential

June 14, 2016

Last week the Chicago Tribune highlighted the growing number of companies employing adults with autism, a segment of the workforce with many strengths and abilities that is unfortunately often overlooked and underutilized.

The article features Doug Williams, CEO of suit-maker Hart Schaffner Marx and the father of a young man with autism. The 130-year-old suit company is opening its doors to employees with autism. With the help of the organization Autism Workforce, Hart Schaffner Marx has made a few accommodations to help these employees meet their potential, like visual cues, softer lighting and color-coded tax forms.

The company is one of many the article highlights that have started to embrace autism in the workplace, including major corporations like Ford, Microsoft and Walgreen's. Also mentioned are organizations devoted to employing adults on the spectrum like AutonomyWorks and Aspiritech.

At Hart Schaffner Marx, Williams has invested more than $500,000 over the past two years, including wages, to create a model for welcoming employees with autism so that other companies can emulate it.

Read more from the Chicago Tribune here.

Autism Speaks is committed to expanding employment opportunities and supports for young adults and adults with autism. TheSpectrumCareers is a portal designed to connect individuals on the spectrum with jobs and employment support service providers. The Autism Speaks Employment Tool Kit helps people with autism research, find and keep employment. Stories, tips and resources were developed from a collaboration of people, including adults with autism, dedicated to increasing the employment participation of adults on the spectrum. In addition,Autism Employment Network, powered by Autism Speaks, is a LinkedIn networking group that was developed to encourage the creation of greater employment opportunities for individuals with autism.