Autism at Work

Team from ILR and Yang-Tan Institute attend summit
Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Four people representing the ILR School and its  K. Lisa Yang and Hock E. Tan Institute on Employment and Disability attended the first annual Autism at Work Summit.

Sponsored by SAP, one of the world’s largest software companies, the March event attracted 200 academics, technology sector representatives, disability employment service providers, family members, employees and interns participating in the SAP Autism at Work Program.

The ILR team attending included K. Lisa Yang ’74, Yang-Tan Institute Director Susanne Bruyère, Research Associate Hassan Enayati and ILR Associate Dean for Outreach and Sponsored Research Linda Barrington.

Meeting at SAP's campus in Newtown Square, Pa., summit participants discussed the company’s Autism at Work pilot programs and how program outcomes can be measured. SAP’s goal is to have one percent of its global workforce be people on the autism spectrum by 2020.

Partnering with autism-focused employment groups around the world, SAP’s Autism at Work program matches people with high technical skills and abilities who are at varying points along the autism spectrum to employment positions in 18 SAP locations globally.

One in 68 children in the United States has been identified with autism spectrum disorder, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The rate is one in 42 for boys and one in 189 for girls.

Bruyère said, “SAP is creatively sourcing from an under-tapped pool of talent. The high retention rates that they’ve achieved in their Autism at Work program are enviable. Programs like these need to be studied and discussed in our classrooms.”

Jennifer Morgan, president of SAP America, and Delaware Gov. Jack Markell also attended the summit, where representatives from HP and Microsoft shared successes they’ve had with similar programs.