In The Politics of Autism, I discuss the employment of adults with autism and other disabilities. Many posts have discussed programs to provide them with training and experience.
Ford Motor Co. was the first employer to team with the Autism Alliance of Michigan nonprofit in 2016 to give job-ready candidates a chance to try out a job and be recruited. Three years later, 17 people are working there in full-time, part-time and contractor positions in Dearborn. Similar programs have been offered at dozens of employers across the state, including DTE Energy Co., General Motors Co. and MotorCity Casino Hotel. They have hired more than 150 workers with autism.
In 2016, Ford began a greater effort to increase its diversity around the same time the Autism Alliance of Michigan wanted to create a pipeline to match businesses to workers with autism. FordInclusiveWorks launched that year with four participants in product development who had the chance to try out the job and then go through the company's formal recruitment process. All were hired.
A majority of what the alliance does happens before the employee enters a company, though. It leads candidates through a series of steps to prepare them for the workplace. Its experts go over their resumes and social media and work on communication skills. Business recruiters meet with candidates every month for mock interviews. Candidates take a skills and clinical assessment.
In addition to supporting current job seekers, efforts are underway to give high school students with developmental disabilities on-the-job experience. Project Search, an initiative that began at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, has programs at several Metro Detroit employers, including DTE, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and area health systems.