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Neurodiverse Hiring Initiative

The Neurodiverse Hiring Initiative (NHI) at RIT strengthens the employment outcomes of neurodiverse RIT students by connecting them with employers who are looking to diversify the workplace.

About // The Neurodiverse Hiring Initiative at RIT

What is Neurodiversity?

Neurodiversity refers to natural and valuable variations in thinking, brain function, and behavior (such as those attributable to the Autism Spectrum). Such variations impact how one processes information, sees the world, and interacts with people. These unique viewpoints are often highly sought after in the workplace, as organizations look for was to include a wide range of perspectives and focus on creative, innovation solutions.

Employment trends for those with autism spectrum disorders

  • There are currently 3.5 million people living with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD), with an estimated 50,000 individuals entering adulthood each year*.
  • Young adults on the autism spectrum often miss out on the critical early work experiences and those who enter the workforce, even with a college degree, face higher rates of joblessness than their peers. Current unemployment and underemployment rates for those on the autism spectrum are reported near 80%.
  • Employers are interested in hiring the best and the brightest job candidates but standard recruitment practices can unintentionally screen out neurodiverse job seekers.
  • Once employed, individuals on the autism spectrum become loyal, long-term employees with strengths in logical and analytical thinking, great attention to detail, and strong ability to focus on the task at hand.

*Roux, A.M., Shattuck, P.T., Cooper, B.P., Anderson, K.A., Wagner, M. & Narendorf, SC. (2013) Postsecondary employment experiences among young adults with an autism spectrum disorder. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2013 Sep;52(9):931-9.
 

The Neurodiverse Hiring Initiative at RIT

The Neurodiverse Hiring Initiative (NHI) is a partnership between the Office of Career Services and the Spectrum Support Program that helps connect employers with neurodiverse job seekers.

NHI seeks to:

  • Increase the career readiness of neurodiverse students at RIT
  • Expand employment options for neurodiverse students at RIT
  • Prepare employers to effectively engage with neurodiverse job seekers

For Students // Participate in NHI

Why Participate in NHI?

Eligible students can be considered for opportunities as part of RIT’s Neurodiverse Hiring Initiative (NHI). Benefits to participating include:

  • Qualified students may be eligible to receive financial support to assist with living expenses during the employment period.
  • Access to work opportunities with companies and organizations who have demonstrrated a commitment to inclusion and understand the unique strengths of neurodiverse candidates.
  • Opportunities that help build you skills, add to your work experiences and strengthen your resume may also count for cooperative education credit.

For Employers // Hiring Neurodiverse Talent

Employers are interested in hiring the best and brightest job candidates. However, traditional HR practices can inadvertently exclude neurodiverse talent.

The Neurodiverse Hiring Initiative at RIT seeks to connect talented students with employers in three ways:

Recruiting
We offer assistance in finding neurodiverse candidates through networking events, resume books, and direct referrals. Candidates are available for semester-long or full-time summer experiences related to their area of study at RIT, especially in the areas of computing, engineering, software development and testing, media design and development, and more.

Training and Support
Those working closely with an intern or neurodiverse employee, including supervisors, mentors or co-workers, and HR managers, will have access to training about best practices related to recruiting and supervising neurodiverse talent. Consultation and support from neurodiversity experts is available throughout the employment period.

Stipend
Qualified students may be eligible to receive financial support to assist with living expenses during the employment period, allowing flexibility to accept a wider range of internship and co-op experiences including unpaid experiences.

Get information about neurodiverse hiring

Benefits of Employing Individuals on the Autism Spectrum

Growing and varied population
Advances in understanding and early support means that more young adults on the autism spectrum are completing college and seeking professional employment in a variety of fields

Characteristics
Focus, reliability, honesty and a preference for work over office politics Tolerance for repetition and routine work tasks

Skills
Attention to detail, accuracy, intense focus and exceptional memory Strong logic and analytic skills

Efficiency
Supports that help individuals on the autism spectrum in their adjustment to the workplace (such as mentoring, direction communication, and regularly performance feedback) benefits all employees

Diversity and Section 503 hiring
Employees on the autism spectrum add a valuable dimension of diversity to the workplace and can assist organizations in meeting diversity recruitment and Section 503 utilization goals
 

Ready to hire neurodiverse talent?

Step 1
Identify roles you are looking to fill and share a job description with Janine Rowe at jmroce@rit.edu

Step 2
Review resumes of available and interested candidates that are sent to you

Step 3
Interview to determine fit and hire suitable candidates

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