The Neurodiverse Hiring Initiative (NHI) was developed to strengthen the graduation and employment outcomes of neurodiverse students by connecting them with employers who are seeking to diversify their workforce.
About the Initiative
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 ways 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 helps to connect employers with neurodiverse job seekers.
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
Benefits to participating include:
Access to work opportunities with companies and organizations who have demonstrated a commitment to inclusion and understand the unique strengths of neurodiverse candidates
Opportunities that help build your skills, add to your work experiences and strengthen your resume
Career Ready Bootcamp:
Career Ready Bootcamp is designed specifically for autistic job seekers to practice and solidify the "soft skills" necessary to succeed in the workforce. Participants work collaboratively in teams to build a 3D printer and present a deliverable to a client. Employers seeking neurodiverse applicants join Career Ready Bootcamp to share details about their company and the positions offered. In addition, participants are walked through the job search process. We review resumes, engage in mock interviews and performance reviews, discuss disclosure, and learn about third-party recruiters.
2023-2024 Program Dates (subject to change):
August 2023 cohort: Aug. 14 - 25 (Applications are closed)
January 2024 cohort: Jan. 2 - 12 (Applications open in November 2023)
August 2024 cohort: Aug. 12-23 (Applications open in March 2024)
For more information about Career Ready Bootcamp, please contact Kendra Evans, the NHI Coordinator, at email@example.com.
We know you are interested in hiring the best and brightest job candidates. However, traditional HR practices can inadvertently exclude neurodiverse talent.
Here are three ways we can connect you with talented students:
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.
Learn more about the benefits of hiring a neurodiverse student and explore our resources
Ben’s technical depth is excellent. He is self-motivated and diligent. Very focused. Ben is a brilliant mind. He impressed our team with an ability to conduct intensive, more linear, problem-solving. We initially engaged him to help troubleshoot a circuitry program – a problem that had been plaguing us for several days. He was able to diagnose the issue with incredible clarity.
- SSP Employer
William’s design and programming skills were far beyond what we were prepared for. He has an extremely analytical mind and can quickly find solutions to a problem and use his computer programming skills to provide the solution. He can also see beyond the programming and understand the users side of the equation.
- SSP Employer
He worked on a solution with remarkable efficiency and a clear passion. I particularly enjoyed his initiative to express ideas beyond the original project definition. He saw improvements everywhere and gave astounding clarity to our hardware development. He condensed complex problems into straightforward answers and often would rework existing solutions to be more effective and focused.