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Quarterly Global Newsletter Q3 2018

Music for Autism International

Q3 2018

Autistic Employment

H2 2018

In this H2 2018 report, we highlight the progress of ten companies committed to autistic employment as part of larger neurodiversity programmes.  These include the Employer at Work Roundtable companies (SAP, JPM Chase, EY, DXC, Ford and Microsoft) as well as other companies active in this space including Chargeback, Quest Diagnostics, Cintas and ANZ (Australia). We cite analysis performed by Autism Speaks (USA), CRC (Australia) and Cornell University and include input from television and print media in the USA, Canada and Australia.


Over the past two years, we have witnessed a substantial increase both in the numbers of employers implementing ASD employment programmes and available information available on such programmes. As such, this will be the last period research on autistic employment uploaded on the website. Instead, our autistic employment research will return to quarterly and be uploaded only onto the newly formed website.

Autistic Advisors Ltd (AAL) is a UK based international ASD advisory business with the majority of its consultants who are senior professionals on the autistic spectrum. All have employment careers in either large international corporations or high growth smaller organizations which have included sourcing, interviewing, recruiting, training and evaluating

ASD professionals.

AAL’s business model is similar to Grisons Peak’s, which is based upon a unique 10 year old database on Chinese investments and is integral to the client advisory business. While the database is only two years old, our day to day experience and in autism dates back to 2014 through (now in 9 countries) and with and over a decade of ASD employees within Grisons Peak.


All three of the research sites (including were founded by and edited by Henry Tillman, whose family has multiple generations of ASD/ADHD.


We hope that you find the information within to be useful.

2nd Annual Autism @Work Summit

(Melbourne, Victoria, Australia)


In October 2018, CRC, DXC Technology and ANZ hosted the 2nd Autism @ Work Summit 2018 focussed on exploring the Neurodiversity Advantage.

Presenters included organisations investing in a more neurodiverse workforce including ANZ, Google, EY, JP Morgan Chase, Ford, Microsoft, SAP, SunPork Farms and the Australian Department of Defence, Home Affairs and Human Services. The focus was on the benefits of better engaging the skills and interests of all employees, not just those on the autism spectrum.

There were also keynote presentations from Paulette Penzvalto, autism advocate and Google employee from Silicon Valley; and Jeanette Purkis, autism employment advocate, writer and speaker.


In October 2017, six companies, many of which attended the Summit—Ford Motor, DXC Technology, EY, Microsoft, JPMorgan Chase, and SAP—formed the Autism at Work Employer Roundtable to share best hiring and workplace practices and to help other companies see the return on investment in hiring autistic employees.


Millennials on the autism spectrum plug tech skills gap at DXC/ANZ

Australian Financial Review 28 October 2018 (Australia)


This article discusses employment programmes at both DXC – which has 80 employees over 4 years in its Dandelion programme – and the fledgling ANZ programme, which launched its programme with 9 autistic employees during early 2018. ANZ operations expert Andrew Baird said that "what we've found is that in some situations their speed of learning and ability to pick up tools and processes is much faster. They have also been 50 per cent more productive in some parts of work."

Good work that's good for business

Release by Autism Speaks (New York, New York, USA)


Autism Speaks released an update on autism employment programmes at Cintas Corp and Quest Diagnostics. Headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio, Cintas provides highly specialized products and services to over one million customers ranging from independent auto repair shops to large hotel chains.


Cintas is an industry leader in supplying corporate identity uniform programs, providing entrance and logo mats, restroom supplies, promotional products, first aid, safety, fire protection products and services, and industrial carpet and tile cleaning. Cintas operates more than 400 facilities in North America—including six manufacturing plants and eight distribution centers.


Quest Diagnostics Inc (Quest) is a US based clinical laboratory founded in 1967 as Metropolitan Pathology Laboratory, Inc. As a Fortune 500 company (with over $7.5 billion revenue), Quest operates in the USA, (including Puerto Rico), the United Kingdom, Mexico, and Brazil.  Quest launched its Diverse Abilities in 2017 with a goal to recruit from the ASD community to fill specific roles in its business. These employees do specimen processing and other related jobs at labs in Tucker, Georgia and Lenexa, Kansas.


Why Microsoft, Chase and Others Are Hiring More People with Autism 

(DIVERSEability Magazine – USA)


Chargeback, a Utah-based company investigates and documents credit card disputes for merchants — every time someone claims a card was used without their permission — and so its analysts must be persistent with a sharp eye for detail that not everyone has. That’s why its president, Khalid El-Awady, recently hired a 36-year-old analyst named Carrie Tierney. She breezed through training and handles technical data, computer requirements and repetitive tasks with ease, in about half the time new analysts usually take. “We’ve been very, very impressed,” says El-Awady. The experience has convinced him to consider more employees with Tierney’s abilities — and, by medical textbook standards, disabilities.


Tierney is on the autism spectrum. But her hiring is not unique. She represents a vanguard in the war for talent, in which American companies — mostly large, but some small, too — are increasingly recruiting what they now call neurodiverse workers. It’s still the early days, but more and more companies say these individuals have proven to be a competitive advantage due to their creative, detail-oriented and technically adept traits. “It’s fertile ground,” says Susanne Bruyère of the K. Lisa Yang and Hock E. Tan Institute on Employment and Disability at Cornell University.


As companies discover the value of having autistic employees, many are making major changes to their hiring practices. Today, roughly 50 companies in the U.S. have a workforce that’s primarily made up of autistic workers, says Michael Bernick, a former director of California’s labor department who is now counsel to Sedgwick law firm and writes about neurodiversity.

(As a postscript, Chargeback's headquarters is in Salt Lake City, Utah.  As at year end 2018, Chargeback had revenue of $5 million and 61 employees. Chargeback has received a total of $3M in funding).


What's new in Season 2 of Employable Me Canada  

AMI: Accessible Media Inc. (Canada)


Uploaded on 11 Sep 2018 (youtube)


Employable Me Canada series producer Katie Lafferty and ATW presenter Anthony McLachlan discussed Season 2 of the hit AMI original TV series, which returned Friday, Sept. 14, at 7:00 p.m. ET. In Series 2, there were 6 episodes addressing employment across a number of disabilities including autism. Series 2 also follows up on the developments from the individuals featured in Series 1. It was possible to stream episodes of Employable Me after the broadcast on and on the AMI App.

The Chocolate Spectrum in Jupiter changes lives by employing people on the autism spectrum

(West Palm Beach, Florida USA)


In December 2018, WPTV 5 aired a story on a Jupiter business which is making strides in the local autism community.


Beaters are mixing and measuring at the Chocolate Spectrum to make the perfect sweet treats. But there's a lot more than ingredients behind these recipes.  "I’ve been here since 2015 and I love every minute of it," said chocolatier Michael Pagan. "We have our white, milk, and dark chocolate always tempering so they don't melt in the sun."He's one of several employees at the Chocolate Spectrum on the autism spectrum. "I’m convinced that everybody has a purpose, and everybody can be trained to do something," said Valerie Herskowitz, the owner of the Chocolate Spectrum.


The business was Herskowitz's plan, but after seeing the lack of work opportunities for young adults on the spectrum, like her own son, Blake, she stepped up to set a new standard. "This is just another cog in the wheel in my journey as his mother," said Herskowitz.


The Chocolate Spectrum has grown into a retail shop with two satellite locations and training programs, mail orders, as well as chocolate for weddings. But Valerie strives for more. "We're not totally at a point where we are sustainable yet, especially without grants," said Herskowitz. "We still need donations and grants from the community to stay afloat." But she said with this team behind her, she knows that can be within reach. "I love my crew, we're family," said Herskowitz.  You can visit the Chocolate Spectrum at 6725 W. Indiantown Road in Jupiter, Florida.


Note this company is nowhere near the size of the other companies in this research note but we feel that it is a great effort in a business which does not appear to be cash flow positive yet – so we are including to give the story and the content a broader audience.


© Music for Autism International 2018. All rights reserved. Reproduction by permission only of the Author of this document, Music for Autism International Copyright and Intellectual Property Right Ownership: This document and all Information therein, contains material owned by either Music for Autism International or its Information Providers which is protected under copyright, trademark and other intellectual property laws. Neither this report nor any part of it may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval place or transmitted by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without the prior written permission of Music for Autism International. Music for Autism International and its Information Providers, as applicable, own the copyright to all Information and works of authorship. All trademarks, service marks, and logos used on the document are the trademarks, service marks, or logos of Music for Autism International or its Information Providers, as applicable. 

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