Individuals with autism face unemployment and underemployment rates as high as 85 percent. This is a staggering number—especially given that one in 59 children are identified to be on the autism spectrum, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The reason for this may in some cases have more to do with the job application and interview process than potential candidates’ qualifications for a position.
Adults with autism often excel when it comes to activities like pattern recognition or analytical tasks—skills that are in demand and can be difficult for much of the population. Yet the traditional hiring process holds them back due to communication and social barriers. To overcome these challenges, companies are implementing diversity programs designed to get talented individuals on the autism spectrum into the workforce.
Local tax technology company Vertex recently partnered with The Precisionists Inc., to do just this. The Precisionists Inc. (TPI) is incorporated as a Benefits Corporation (B-Corp) in the State of Delaware. B-Corps aspire to use the power of markets to solve social and environmental problems. The Precisionists is focused on creating jobs for people on the autism spectrum, disabled veterans, and the hearing and visually impaired. The company is matching detail-oriented, analytical people to fill critical roles at Vertex, ensuring a fit on both sides.
Thanks to this partnership, six new team members joined Vertex in its King of Prussia office last month. The Precisionists made this possible by assessing and training the new employees and supporting them on site every day to help them acclimate to their new environment and roles.
“We are pleased to partner with The Precisionists to offer fair and equal employment opportunities to diverse groups in our region,” said Vertex President and CEO David DeStefano. “Our diversity and inclusion initiative considers people with different backgrounds, experiences, cultures and perspectives and we are proud to be an employer that supports this unique talent management initiative.”
These new employees at Vertex are responsible for a variety of work such as software testing, which involves repetitive, pattern-detecting tasks, and venture projects, which require creative, out-of-the-box thinking. Though these individuals are currently employed by The Precisionists, they’re working to transition to full-time employment at Vertex within one year.
“A diverse team makes us a better company and a stronger community partner. Each position at Vertex requires a different skill set and The Precisionists helped us match the best people for these roles, without eliminating individuals through a traditional interview process ,” said Amanda Radcliffe, Vertex co-owner and board member.
“We applaud Vertex for making a true difference in engaging a significant, untapped and highly effective labor force right here in our area,” said Ernie Dianastasis, CEO of The Precisionists.
For Vertex, this is part of a larger talent acquisition effort, which aims to develop an inclusive work environment that is open and accommodating to all, including those with disabilities. The company sees diversity as a strategic enabler of competitive success.
Director of Talent Acquisition