Every April, we ask our member organizations what they are doing to acknowledge and celebrate Autism Awareness Month.
This is a great way to highlight some of the great work they are doing and to hopefully inspire you as you plan your own Autism Awareness Month initiatives.
Many of our members have switched to virtual programming in light of the current COVID-19 pandemic. They have been able to adequately adapt by hosting events that foster further employee engagement despite not being able to gather in-person.
Here is what they shared.
Bank of America
Providing a diverse and inclusive workplace for our teammates around the world is built into our company’s DNA. Since 2007, Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan has chaired our Global Diversity & Inclusion Council, the chief governing body for our D&I strategy.
Our Board and its committees play a key role in the oversight of our culture, holding management accountable for the highest principles of ethical and professional conduct and a commitment to being a great place to work.
We have a comprehensive plan in April celebrating World Autism Awareness Month by highlighting our commitment to supporting our teammates affected by autism.
Our support, whether directly or through a loved one, is unwavering.
Through our Disability Advocacy Network (DAN), our Support Services team, and our partnerships with community organizations and non-profits, we strive to create a world where everyone has an opportunity to succeed and achieve their goals, including those on the autism spectrum.
Our events this year are tailored to be more virtual than in-person in light of the coronavirus.
Here are some of the ways we are highlighting the month of recognition:
Freddie Mac is rolling out its rebranded autism hiring program, Neurodiversity at Work, which has evolved from an internship model to a full-time work model.
Externally, we will unveil a new neurodiversity video on our social media platforms and post a careers blog on our program and the opportunities it is creating for individuals with autism.
Internally, we will feature an article and resources for employees to engage with the Neurodiversity at Work program.
We will also feature curated playlists about neurodiversity via our internal FMYou learning management system.
As a group we have a social media campaign going around the organization encouraging employees to not only wear blue but light up blue around them.
Then once they do that they would share it on our social media portal and add appropriate hashtags.
To spread Autism awareness outside of the organization we have asked the downtown Jacksonville building to light the top blue so everyone in Jacksonville can see it.
These are our two primary focuses for now since we are limited to what we can do due to social distancing and the coronavirus.
The Diversity & Inclusion team has launched Decoding Inclusion, a series of events aimed at building community and sharing foundational knowledge about D&I topics to further our understanding of differences.
On April 7th, we held our first event entitled “Decoding Inclusion: An Introduction to Neurodiversity,” which included an overview of Neurodiversity as a cultural attribute and the Neurodiversity paradigm, a powerful chat with our employee panel, and a Q&A.
Employees joined from across the world for this virtual learning experience. Our incredible panel used the power of storytelling to convey their lived experiences from being neurodivergent and their life hacks for overcoming challenges.
Each of them were role models for vulnerability and they helped reduce some of the stigmas associated with this topic.
We will continue to celebrate this month by spotlighting employees, including our Executive Sponsor for this program, on social media to amplify their stories and experiences.
Qualcomm’s Sr. Talent Acquisition Specialist, Matt Harris, will be participating in a webinar on Neurodiversity Hiring Programs – from Concept Development to Launching and Sustaining with Measurable Outcomes on April 15, 2020 @ 12:00 – 1:00 pm Eastern.
People on the autism spectrum often have skills that are in high demand, such as an attention to detail and innovative thinking, and yet, they remain a largely untapped talent pool. Employers like Dell Technologies, Microsoft, Qualcomm, and Travelers have launched successful Neurodiversity Hiring Programs and have realized the benefits of hiring persons who are neurodiverse.
During this webinar, experts from Disability:IN corporate partners will share Neurodiversity Hiring Program techniques that can be replicated at your company. Speakers will provide how-to tips on concept development, launching, sustaining and expanding Neurodiversity Hiring Programs.
During the month of April, Wells Fargo’s Diverse Abilities Team Member Network is planning to host an educational webcast with a focus on autism for its employees.
We will be joined by external experts who will discuss the latest in autism services and employees who will share their stories about dealing with the joys and challenges of being on the autism spectrum.