Ford Launches Program to Employ Autistic Adults on Product Development Team



Did you know that wholly 35% of autistic young adults have never received a job or had any postgraduate education after high school? Considering that there are more than 3.5 million people living in the U.S. with an autism spectrum disorder, that’s a staggering 1.225 million people. However, Ford, a major player in Michigan’s economy, recently launched a new program that will employ autistic adults.

FordInclusiveWorks, Ford’s new program developed with the Autism Alliance of Michigan, creates five new jobs for autistic adults. The positions are all in product development, and the jobs are specifically tailored to the skills and capabilities of autistic workers.

Ford released their official statement on the new program, which started this June:

“The work is highly structured, requires a great deal of focus, and calls for a high level of attention to detail and organization. Skills required to complete this task safely and with a high level of quality lend themselves to strengths typically associated with individuals with autism.”

Ford hopes the program will be a step in the right direction of lowering the adult autism rate, which is about 75% to 90% across the country.

“Individuals with autism bring a unique set of talents to our business. We recognize that having a diverse and inclusive workforce allows us to leverage a wider range of innovative ideas to make our customers’ lives better,” said Felicia Fields, Ford’s vice president of human resources and corporate services.

If the five workers do well, Ford will potentially offer full-time positions.

Colleen Allen, president and CEO of the Autism Alliance, released a statement of the general perception of autism regarding businesses:

“Often, companies lack understanding of the unique characteristics associated with autism, which can be challenging, and unfortunately this can lead to perceptions of a poor fit for the individual and coworkers.”

Applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapy is a scientific approach to help those struggling with developmental disabilities to overcome challenges. ABA therapists can help autistic children and young adults learn essential skills, including self-care, academic, daily living, language, and social and play skills.

The cost of lifelong care for someone with autism can be reduced by two-thirds with an early diagnosis and successful intervention and therapy. But for adults with autism, a steady job can be a tremendous form of support.

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