Autism Speaks, an organization that helps families and individuals cope with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), posted an article on its website encouraging the observation of National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) in October by promoting public awareness and stressing the importance of hiring people with disabilities.
This year’s theme, “Inclusion Drives Innovation,”will focus on inclusion and highlight the relationship of the autism community to government agencies, specifically the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP). With support, adults with disabilities can demonstrate their value to the work force, while advocates can address the issue of general unemployment and underemployment statistics in this population, the posting said.
In its posting, Autism Speaks highlighted the continuing need for businesses to identify and recruit members of the autism community for job openings, citing companies such as Microsoft, SAP, Cintas and Amazon as success stories. Additionally, the group urged employers to examine any inherent biases or misinformation in order to make fair and inclusive hiring decisions.
“Inviting people who think differently into a business leads to a more diverse, innovative and ultimately more productive workforce,” the posting said. “Indeed, more and more companies now see neurodiversity as a crucial competitive advantage.”
U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta concurred with the concept, adding that having workers with diverse skills “strengthens … business, increases competition and drives innovation," according to the posting.