Microsoft to Host Virtual Career Fair for People on the Autism Spectrum

Microsoft is hosting a virtual career fair for people on the autism spectrum Wednesday, April 25. The fair will include recruiters from companies including Bloomberg, Deloitte, DXC technology, EY, Ford, IBM, JP Morgan Chase, Microsoft, and SAP.

Microsoft launched its Autism Hiring Program in 2015. Microsoft has hired 50 full-time autistic employees through its program, according to the company’s blog.

“At the heart of our program is a larger focus on changing the unemployment and underemployment rate for people on the spectrum, which is 80+ percent,” Neil Barnett, director of inclusive hiring and accessibility at Microsoft, wrote. “It’s imperative that we partner with other companies across industry to help change perceptions and bring more people with autism into the workplace and ultimately, change the number.”

Microsoft works with companies like JP Morgan Chase, Ford Motor Company and SAP to develop more inclusive hiring approaches for people on the spectrum. The companies recently launched the Autism Employer Roundtable to help companies create more inclusive hiring plans.

Despite 35 percent of 18-year-old autistic students attending college, 85 percent of college graduates are unemployed, according to Integrate, a service that connects autistic individuals to jobs. Out of those who do have a job, 79 percent are working part-time with an average wage of $9.11 an hour.

Microsoft’s commitment to disability-related initiatives extends beyond the autism community. Earlier this month, the tech giant partnered with Rochester Institute of Technology, home to the National Technical Institute for the Deaf, to pilot an artificial-intelligence language technology system called Microsoft Translator. The system helps transcribe lectures in real-time for students who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Those interested in attending the career fair can register for free. The event begins online at 1 p.m. and ends at 3 p.m. PDT.

Photo via Getty Images/volkan.basar

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