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Monday, July 11, 2022

North Carolina Program for Autistic State Employees

In The Politics of Autism, I discuss the employment of adults with autism and other developmental disabilities. Many posts have discussed programs to provide them with training and experience.

At Route Fifty, Daniela Altimari reports on North Carolina's pilot program to help autistic public employees succeed at work.

The initiative is called the North Carolina Career Advancement Resources for State Employees on the Spectrum and it is part of a broader state effort, outlined in an executive order issued by Gov. Roy Cooper in 2019, to hire more employees with disabilities.

“North Carolina’s workforce is made stronger by its diversity, and our talented employees on the autism spectrum offer valuable skills and perspectives,” the Democratic governor said in a statement announcing the initiative in April 2022. “This innovative program will help us support and retain these employees and better serve our state.”

North Carolina has struggled in recent years with labor shortages; hiring people with disabilities can help fill those gaps. The state employs about 80,000 people.

North Carolina’s pilot program offers state employees with autism spectrum disorder with up to five hours of one-on-one career coaching per year through the state’s partnership with two nonprofit agencies, the TEACCH Autism Program and the Autism Society of North Carolina. Advocates see it as a tool to help the state attract and retain workers.