Samantha Murphy Kelly: Microsoft on Monday announced a pilot program to hire workers with autism.
The company is working with an organization called Specialisterne, which helps create and find jobs for autistic workers. Microsoft will focus on filling full-time positions at its headquarters in Redmond, Washington. The news comes just after World Autism Awareness Day, which was last Thursday.
Microsoft has been “committed to enabling people with disabilities to be successful for a long time,” said Mary Ellen Smith, Microsoft’s corporate vice president for operations. In a blog poston the company’s site, Smith noted that her 19-year-old son Shawn was diagnosed with autism when he was 4 years old.
“Microsoft is stronger when we expand opportunity and we have a diverse workforce that represents our customers. People with autism bring strengths that we need at Microsoft,” Smith wrote. “Each individual is different, some have amazing ability to retain information, think at a level of detail and depth or excel in math or code. It’s a talent pool that we want to continue to bring to Microsoft.”
Smith did not specify how many workers would be hired under the program.
Other software companies have also recognized that people with autism can bring special skills to the workforce. SAP announced a similar program in conjunction with Specialisterne in 2013.
In a recent study, Microsoft’s workforce efforts earned it recognition for being among the top-ranked diverse companies.
Candidates interested in Microsoft’s pilot program can email resumes to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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