SAP AG (ADR) (NYSE:SAP), a software company, has introduced a program to hire tech employees with autism. The program from the company is called “Autism at Work,” and is aimed at providing training to people with autism for different roles within the organization.
SAP plans to expand the program
Explaining the reason behind the hiring program, Jose Velasco (head of the autism initiative at SAP in the U.S.) said that people with autism have abilities that general people may not have. “In order for us to accommodate some of the challenges we have to provide a different platform.”
The software company said that the first batch of such employees are currently preparing for their first day at SAP AG (ADR) (NYSE:SAP). The company is also relying on external experts over the hiring.
SAP officials said they are certainly in favor of hiring people on the spectrum, but they are also keeping a close eye, and the start looks promising. As of now, the Autism at Work program has been implemented only for the Bay Area, but the company plans to take it to other offices also.
By 2020, SAP AG (ADR) (NYSE:SAP) plans to have up to 1% of its workforce or around 650 people to be people with autism, according to Jose Velasco.
Different roles offered
Roles given to autistic employees at SAP AG (ADR) (NYSE:SAP) include identifying software glitches, directing customer-service queries to the troubleshoot team members. One employee works in “talent marketing,” and issues communications to employees internally. Presently, the company plans to hire someone to produce videos, and is considering an autistic applicant with experience in media arts.
The software company is also considering autistic applicants for other jobs, including for a role of writing manuals to detail clients on the software installations.
Dr. Rosalind Picard, MIT’s director of autism technology says that people with autism are afraid of social interaction. They are as intelligent as others in the company, but they “may not enjoy the eye contact, face-to-face interaction.”
Gregory Yates, who has autism, says he would like to see more people working in a tech role. Yates also co-founded the Autism, Asperger Syndrome Coalition for Education, Networking and Development group.
The initiative from the German company deserves high praise as, according to disability experts, around 85% of adults with autism are expected to be unemployed.