Washington, DC – One in 68 children today are being diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). The unemployment rate of adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD), including ASDs, is 85 percent. This appalling statistic coupled with the increase in prevalence of kids being diagnosed demands action from all sectors of our economy to ensure that people with ASDs are finding appropriate employment at a fair wage, and retaining that job with the proper supports to be successful and have a career of their choosing, just like people without disabilities.
With nearly 65 years of experience working with and serving people with I/DD, including autism, The Arc is launching an exciting new resource called TalentScout for employers to unlock the talents of people with autism in the workplace. TalentScout is a first of its kind resource toolkit that gives employers essential insight and tools that harnesses their employees with autism fullest potential and leads to higher levels of productivity in the workplace.
“People with autism have a lot to contribute in all aspects of our society. In the workplace, their individual unique talents need to be maximized to benefit both the goals of their employer, and their personal desire to have and keep a job that adds meaning to their life. Far too many people with autism are left on the sidelines of our workforce, and entities that have recognized the benefits of hiring someone with autism are reaping the rewards. Whether it’s the loyalty that someone with a disability may bring to their employer, or their unique skill set that gets the job done, people with autism are ready for hire,” said Peter Berns, CEO of The Arc.
TalentScout is a valuable resource for government agencies that are working to implement President Obama’s initiative (EO 13548) to hire 100,000 people with disabilities into the federal government workforce, and for federal government contractors who need to bring their companies in compliance with the new 503 regulations on employment of people with disabilities. These new regulations require federal contractors to conduct targeted outreach to the disability community, establish a 7% workforce utilization goal; implement data collection mechanisms to measure effectiveness of affirmative action, provide invitation to applicants and existing employees to voluntarily self-identify, and to perform an annual evaluation to measure outcomes.
The Arc is providing a unique resource for employers in that TalentScout’s content has been vetted by people with autism, and it includes their first-hand accounts and insights as job applicants and employees. It is backed by the years of nationwide experience of The Arc’s vast chapter network, and by Autism Now: National Autism Resource and Information Center.
“TalentScout is an extremely valuable guide. This sets the bar high for employers,” Jose Velasco, SAP, Head, Autism at Work Program.
“The personal stories and insights took this document to another level,” Kristie King, Comcast/NBC Universal, Manager, Diversity Recruitment.
TalentScout is one component of TheArc@Work, which is leading the way in developing innovative workforce solutions for the government and private sector by connecting employers with talented employees with I/DD and supporting the recruitment, on-boarding, and retention process.