Autistic and all neurodivergent job seekers, join us online on March 25th and unlock the potential of LinkedIn to reach your next career opportunity! Grab your free ticket today.
LinkedIn is more than just another social network—it’s the single most powerful online tool for job seekers. In fact, 87 percent of recruiters report using LinkedIn to find and vet candidates for their companies. But navigating the platform can be complicated, with its unspoken rules and etiquette, and standing out among millions of candidates requires some insider knowledge.
Join the Neurodiversity in the Workplace team, fellow neurodivergent job seekers, and inclusive employers for actionable tips to help you make the most of LinkedIn.
This webinar (tickets available on Eventbrite) is your in-depth guide to leveraging LinkedIn as a job seeker. Topics will include:
- Profile creation and the role of each component, from headline and summary to experience and endorsements
- Best practices for networking, including direct messaging, evaluating which connections to make, and how to engage your contacts in your job search
- Search algorithms and optimization to increase your visibility and opportunity to connect to recruiters
You’ll hear from a panel of experts including company recruiters, neurodiversity hiring program managers, and neurodivergent employees. They will share their first-hand experiences, ideas, and strategies on how to use the power of LinkedIn to launch your career or land your next job.
Danielle Biddick, Sr. Advisor, Diversity Talent Acquisition, Dell Technologies
Mandy Ching, Talent Acquisition Manager, Diversity & Inclusion, VMware
Sydney Fong, Event Sourcing Specialist, VMware
Robert Schmus, MSW, LCSW, Clinician, Youth Consultation Services
Click here to get your ticket, free for students and job seekers, and read all the event details.
Rebranding Massachusetts for Inclusive Opportunity
From Most Educated State to Home of Lifelong Learning
Neurodiversity in the Workplace (NITW) is growing a Boston-area hub, as a regional community of practice welcoming corporations, colleges and universities, NGOs and government agencies to network, learn together, and generate more neurodiversity hiring opportunities. Along the way, we are making connections to a larger effort aimed at turning Massachusetts into an inclusive ecosystem of opportunity.
At December’s Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce (GBCC) virtual event on diversity and inclusion, the case was made for expanding how we think about our state’s competitive advantage. The suggested shift ties directly to our work with neurodiversity inclusion.
Regarding the inevitable competition between cities and states, Jim Rooney, President and CEO of GBCC, touched on Massachusetts’ edge: “Some compete on weather, and we don’t win that game. Some compete on lower taxes and regulation, and we find ourselves in the middle there… What we do have—our advantage—is talent.”
He continued, “We want to nurture our talent, and want everyone to think of Boston and Massachusetts as where you can find the best talent. In doing that, we want to make sure we don’t leave anybody on the sidelines.”
Massachusetts prides itself on being the most educated state, and therefore a source of top talent. However, there is a huge disparity in educational attainment, and oftentimes, those who are disabled, neurodivergent, Black, Latino or otherwise identified as a minority are left behind. What if, in addition to efforts to expand equity and access to quality education, we could start closing that gap with a change in how we develop and evaluate talent?
Inspired by the GBCC discussion among Michael Tamasi of AccuRounds, Samantha Diliberti of Starbucks, Lucy Perez of McKinsey & Co., and Sabrina Antoine Correia of Year UP, Jim arrived at a new point of view: “Maybe it’s time for us to change the dynamic from ‘most educated state’ to a ‘state-wide culture of lifelong learners’ … to enable us to achieve that purpose of success for all within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.”
We couldn’t agree more. Making higher education more accessible and affordable is a vital, ongoing effort. At the same time, college isn’t the right path for everyone. And there are many who are excluded yet still have so much to offer in terms of potential, perspective, and talent.
To help address this disconnect, Neurodiversity in the Workplace emphasizes skill-based hiring. We help companies implement alternate hiring paths centered on completion of a technical project, allowing candidates to showcase job skills. This process enhances the standard interview, making it more accepting of individuals with disabilities, allowing them to excel rather than being excluded. This shift is being embraced by our Boston-area partners including Dell, Thermo Fisher, and MIT’s McGovern Institute for Brain Research.
Other avenues to opportunity are opening up in Massachusetts. Examples include training and upskilling initiatives like the Madison Park Talent Pipeline and the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission’s cybersecurity training program for neurodivergent job seekers. It’s the ultimate win-win—skills gaps are filled while disenfranchised people are connected to rewarding career paths.
An emphasis on lifelong learning, including but not limited to college degrees, would elevate the baseline of opportunity. Paired with more inclusive evaluation and hiring of talent, we can build a more diverse and dynamic workforce able to spur innovation like nowhere else.
Note: If you’re interested in joining Boston hub events, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Neurodiversity in the Workplace Launches College Consulting Program
Imagine working hard, overcoming obstacles, and excelling in college–only to be left unemployed or under-employed after graduation as your peers secure promising careers. This is the reality for the growing numbers of autistic students attending college, and an issue Neurodiversity in the WorkplaceTM (NITW) is committed to addressing.
Despite successfully navigating campus life and rigorous academics, neurodivergent graduates are consistently left behind, struggling to get a foothold in the workplace. According to Drexel University’s National Autism Indicators Report, fewer than one in six autistic adults is in full-time employment. The cost of exclusion is significant, contributing to high rates of social isolation, mental health struggles and financial dependence.
NITW recognizes that autistic college students often require specialized support and access to opportunities as they explore and pursue careers. To meet this need, NITW launched our college consulting program with a focus on working jointly with disability services coordinators, career counselors, and other college professionals on a shared goal: to prepare autistic students for a successful transition to the workforce.
NITW’s consulting options incorporate years of knowledge and experience gained by working directly with talent acquisition specialists, hiring managers, and other stakeholders at enterprise companies nationwide. Our offerings address a variety of needs and include campus-wide and departmental trainings, a career development curriculum for autistic students, and a train-the-trainer approach to student support. We know each institution is unique and have created consulting options that can be individualized to meet each college’s specific needs.
Together, we can change employment outcomes for autistic college students and job seekers.
To learn more about our college consulting services, email Bridget McElroy at email@example.com.
Neurodiversity Hiring- Call for Candidates
Connect to career opportunities at upcoming neurodiversity hiring events, being held at companies nationwide in 2021. All are designed to remove barriers for qualified autistic and neurodivergent candidates. Programs include:
1. Professional Development Workshops
We offer a space to discuss workplace topics and expectations that are not always explicitly communicated, like how quickly you should really answer an email or how to navigate being friends with coworkers.
2. Alternative Hiring Process
We replace the standard interview and its emphasis on social communication with a project that showcases relevant job skills. Selected candidates are offered full-time positions at our partner companies.
3. Ongoing Support
We provide long-term job coaching to candidates who are hired. And we’re always there, with an eye to future possible career matches, for applicants who participate in a program but don’t get hired.
Be the first to hear about career opportunities and professional development workshops. Please email us with any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to hear from you!
Neurodiversity in the Workplace Launches Boston Hub
Growing local partnerships, community, and advocacy
Neurodiversity in the Workplace (NITW) has been working to secure more opportunities for neurodiverse workplaces in Greater Boston for the past few years. Joining the progress made with our existing partnerships with Dell Technologies, Thermo Fisher Scientific, HMEA and more, NITW has taken another step forward, with the launch of our second hub in Boston, joining our Philadelphia hub and home base, and building on previous work in the Boston area.
As the new hub gets more established, we’re actively seeking out Boston-area employers and recruiters, job seekers and self-advocates, educators and professionals–anyone interested in learning more about neurodiversity or advancing autistic and other neurodivergent inclusion in the workforce, for the benefit of all.
The NITW Boston hub, at its core, is a welcoming community of practice. Soon, Boston hub events (free and virtual) will cover topics such as neurodiversity inclusion as part of company culture, cultivating executive sponsorship for neurodiversity hiring initiatives, and legal considerations.
There is no cost to participating in the Boston hub! It’s a chance to learn from each other, and a way to keep the conversation, and individual or shared neurodiversity inclusion efforts, moving forward.
“Communities of practice are groups of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly.”
Etienne and Beverly Wenger-Trayner, pioneers in social learning
Meet our Boston hub lead
Amber Hescock Johnson, the newest member of the Neurodiversity in the Workplace team, is tasked with growing our Boston hub. She is a native of Metrowest Boston, Babson College graduate, and former writer and strategist for major brands with an emphasis on inclusion.
Boston hub goals include expansion of neurodiversity hiring into new industries and a wider array of roles. Parent of an autistic child, and identifying as neurodivergent herself, Amber has written about the need for creative fields to tap neurodivergent talent, most notably in “Autism as Advantage: The Case for Neurodiversity in Design.”
Those interested in joining the Boston hub, as a member of our community of practice with connection to local events and networking opportunities, are invited to contact her at email@example.com or 206-384-3133.
Boston partnership news
We’re thrilled to announce one of the first partnerships to join the Boston hub and community. NITW has teamed up with MIT’s McGovern Institute for Brain Research! In the coming weeks, a paid internship program for neurodiverse individuals will be fully underway. We are excited about this groundbreaking partnership and the many possibilities it holds.
Previously established and valued local partner, Dell EMC, is based in Hopkinton, MA, with more neurodivergent hires planned for the near future based on our previous successful hiring program collaboration. Several other Boston partnerships are currently in the works, and we can’t wait to share.
Gratitude and Learning from “Neurodiversity Rising”
Reflecting on an Uplifting and Moving Event
NEXT STEPS FOR CONTINUED MOMENTUM
The knowledge and heart of our speakers and attendees made “Neurodiversity Rising: Eliminating Bias from Hiring” a truly remarkable event, and an ideal beginning to a new chapter for Neurodiversity in the Workplace. We hope you’ll be part of what’s next! That means more events, connections, opportunities, and impact. Everyone has a role to play.
If you weren’t able to be with us for “Neurodiversity Rising,” take heart. We’ll soon share videos of portions of the event–and here are some steps you can take right now.
Neurodivergent job seekers: Complete our online candidate intake form, and be added to our talent pipeline. We’ll let you know when our company partners have open roles that align with your skill set.
Inclusive employers: To explore how you can embrace neurodiversity as a key part of talent acquisition, reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Boston area: To be part of the community of practice being built by our new Boston Hub, email us at email@example.com with subject line “Boston Hub.” We’ll reach out to you.
SIX OF OUR FAVORITE MOMENTS
There were so many amazing moments throughout “Neurodiversity Rising,” but here are just a few favorites noted by the Neurodiversity in the Workplace team.
“Let’s short circuit the interview.” Dr. Temple Grandin
During the Q & A portion of Dr. Grandin’s keynote address, this was her reply when asked about how to take the anxiety out of the interview process for neurodivergent people. We couldn’t agree more–it’s why we emphasize skill-based hiring! Dr. Grandin is a living example of how “showing the work” is an effective strategy for accessing opportunity.
“We must close this disability inclusion gap… and address years of inequities and inequality.” Musi Lee
Musi Lee is Vice President, Global Autism At Work, for JPMorgan Chase. She’s also the mother of an autistic child. In her brief overview of the company’s growing neurodiversity hiring efforts, Musi spoke passionately about the progress made and even more urgently about all the work left to be done to foster inclusion. We’re glad to call her a partner.
“Diverse groups and teams are better problem solvers.” Dr. Jayanti Owens
Dr. Owens pulled directly from her in-depth research on intersectionality to speak so clearly and powerfully to the benefits of diversity–that it’s good for people and for the bottom line. Sr. Assistant Professor of Sociology and International and Public Affairs at Brown University, she studies how the organizational contexts of schools and workplaces, and the race and gender of individuals and their evaluators, shape evaluations and lead to disparate outcomes. We learned a lot from her.
“I’m also gay. Didn’t need a diagnosis for that!” William Gilreath
The honesty and authenticity of William, as with the rest of our panel, was striking. This candid disclosure was one of many great moments from William, who found senior-level employment at VMware with support from Neurodiversity in the Workplace. He shared his experiences with intersectionality, particularly his years-long struggle to find employment as a gay autistic man, despite impressive skills. It was eye-opening, and relatable to many in attendance.
“Stay stubborn.” Finn Gardiner
We loved everything Finn had to say about how bias so easily creeps into our interactions, and how intersectionality has shaped his life in profound ways. Among other talents and pursuits, Finn is a disability advocate, and Communications Specialist at the Lurie Institute for Disability Policy at Brandeis University. As he shared his final thoughts during the conclusion of the panel discussion, he encouraged autistic job seekers to tap innate stubbornness as a strength, giving them power to persevere as he did.
“They said I wasn’t polished. I wasn’t what they were expecting in an elected official.” Assemblymember Yuh-Line Niou
As the first Asian American and openly autistic woman in the New York State legislature representing District 65 (“the best district on the planet,” she claimed with a smile), Yuh-Line continues to encounter bias. We were moved by her courage, openness, and determination to defy expectation and lead in her own way.
BIG THANKS TO OUR COMMUNITY
Finally, we want to take a moment to thank our stellar speakers and panelists: Dr. Temple Grandin, Assemblymember Yuh-Line Niou, Finn Gardiner, Dr. Jayanti Owens, and William Gilreath. They not only informed us but shared from the heart in ways that really connected. We suspect that’s why so many have been asking for a recording of the event!
We also appreciate the time our company partners took to share updates on their neurodiversity hiring programs. Adam Brown of VMware, Musi Lee of JPMorgan and Sarah Loucks of SAP all had valuable insights for those interested in starting programs of their own.
And last but not least, thank you to the hundreds of people who attended. Your engagement in the live chat discussion, support for our panel, and feedback after the event has been beyond valuable. We are grateful, and can’t wait to gather together again!
Announcing panelists for our free
October 14th virtual conference
Finn Gardiner, Jayanti Owens and William Gilreath on neurodiversity and intersectionality
All those wanting to build, and be part of, a more equitable, inclusive workforce are invited to register for our free, upcoming conference, “Neurodiversity Rising: Eliminating Bias from Hiring.” Neurodivergent keynote speakers, Dr. Temple Grandin and NY State Assemblymember Yuh-Line Niou, will be joined by a diverse panel of experts offering valuable insights and unique perspectives.
The event’s panel discussion, “Intersectionality and the Future of Neurodiversity Hiring,” will focus on first-hand experiences of neurodivergence and intersectionality, eye-opening research, and ways to identify and avoid bias in talent acquisition.
Job seekers can learn from autistic advocates who have navigated the hiring process en route to employment, while employers and recruiters will be empowered to rethink hiring practices in pursuit of inclusion.
Learn about our incredible panelists, below, and don’t miss your chance to hear this important dialogue.
Finn Gardiner (he/him/his)
Finn Gardiner is a disability rights advocate with interests in educational equity, intersectional justice, comparative policy, and inclusive technology. He holds a Master of Public Policy degree from the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University and a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Tufts University. He is currently the Communications Specialist at the Lurie Institute for Disability Policy at Brandeis University.
Gardiner also recently finished a fellowship in Leadership and Education on Neurodevelopmental and Developmental Disabilities—LEND—at the University of Massachusetts Medical School’s E.K. Shriver Center.
Learn more about him at finngardiner.com.
Jayanti Owens (she/her/hers)
Assistant professor of sociology and international and public affairs at Brown University
Jayanti Owens’ research focuses on social stratification and inequality in education, families, and labor markets. Using surveys, experiments, and administrative records, she investigates the causes and consequences of uneven educational and labor market rewards and penalties along lines of gender, race/ethnicity, and immigrant status. In particular, she is interested in differences in behavior presentation and perceptions of these behaviors by key decision-makers in contexts ranging from families and classrooms to workplaces.
Owens’ research has been funded by organizations including the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, and the Social Science Research Council. She received a BA from Swarthmore College, where she was a Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellow, and a joint Ph.D. in Sociology and Demography from Princeton University. Prior to coming to Brown she was a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health & Society Scholar at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Owens has worked in the Education Policy Center of the Urban Institute in Washington, D.C. and Mathematica Policy Research in Princeton, NJ.
Learn more about Owens at her personal website: www.jayantiowens.org.
William Gilreath (he/him/his)
Senior Member of Technical Staff, VMware
William is a multifaceted senior software developer, computer scientist, lover of cats, and writer with many years of development experience. He enjoys working with software—developing, testing, writing, and analyzing—and programs in Java for work and fun. William participated in the career preparation and skill-based hiring program with VMware and Neurodiversity in the Workplace.
In his spare time, William writes not only code and technical articles, but also narrative prose including novels, short stories, book chapters, and poetry. On his website, he showcases some of the algorithms, code, programming languages, research papers, and web apps he has created, written, and published.
Register Now! to see the panel discussion, Intersectionality and the Future of Neurodiversity Hiring, on October 14th
October 14th with Temple Grandin and Yuh-Line Niou
Why is neurodiversity a rising tide in employment, and how can we ensure people of all backgrounds are lifted by the movement? In pursuit of answers, we’re excited to announce our upcoming virtual webinar and panel discussion, “Neurodiversity Rising: Eliminating bias from hiring” on October 14th at 1pm EST. Tickets are free, and the event is open to employers and job seekers, advocates and allies, and anyone interested in ways to promote opportunity for all.
Join us as we define and explore the value of autism and other forms of neurodiversity at work, examine how identities of race, gender and sexuality intersect, and share ways to prevent hiring bias from unfairly excluding highly qualified job candidates.
We are thrilled to welcome two powerful keynote speakers: Dr. Temple Grandin, groundbreaking advocate and author, and NY State Assembly member Yuh-Line Niou, the first Asian-American and openly autistic woman to represent District 65 of lower Manhattan. An expert panel will also be with us to talk through issues of intersectionality, bias and how to cultivate real, meaningful inclusion in the workplace.
For us, this webinar is more than just another event. These issues are of crucial importance to work as we move forward in a new era of impact for our organization and the neurodiversity movement as a whole. We’ve grown so much over the past few years, but there is still much work to do to ensure equal opportunity at work. On October 14th, we’ll share what we’ve learned about creating a more fair and effective hiring process, and look to the future with our speakers and panelists, and discuss how to move forward, together.
Key takeaways will be published and provided to all attendees. You’ll leave inspired and empowered to take new and bold steps toward our shared goal of a more equitable and representative workforce—for everyone.