The expressed goal is to provide people on the autism spectrum – an under-utilized human resource – with the opportunity to obtain meaningful and sustained employment.
More specifically, the organization, with its roots in Denmark, aims to enable 10,000 jobs through its related IT consulting business and by actively working with corporations and public agencies to train and employ people with autism in their own organizations.
Though the term Asperger syndrome has been largely folded into the broader autism spectrum disorder term, HR directors across Canada have already grappled to better accommodate those mildly effected workers, often challenged by social interaction with co-workers but just as often lauded for their technical abilities.
The Specialisterne model has made a tremendous impact by identifying and cultivating the strengths and capabilities of individuals on the autism spectrum – many of them with unique skills in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Through specialized hiring, onboarding and management practices, employees and employers are armed to succeed in previously inaccessible industries and careers.
A key objective for Specialisterne in Canada will be to convince corporate Canada that employment of people with autism makes sense not just in terms of meeting diversity and inclusion goals, but also as because it makes good business sense.
“This is much more than an altruistic venture,” said Kirsten Sutton, vice president and managing director of SAP® Labs Canada. “We have already seen through successful pilot projects in India and Ireland how the employment of people with diverse talents, including people with autism, can offer us a new way of thinking and bring value to our business.”