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April 03, 2014

Autism as an Asset in the Workplace

Autism in the Workplace

A recent Wall Street Journal article features companies, like Freddie Mac and SAP, at the forefront of hiring employees with autism.  These companies find that people on the autism spectrum have unique job skills.

Just released data* estimates the number of U.S. children with autism spectrum-disorder has surged to one in 68.   So more and more people with autism will be entering the workforce.


Freddie Mac Program Opens Door for Autistic Talent

Through a partnership with The Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN), Freddie Mac hires as interns recent college graduates with autism.  The program allows us to reach into an untapped source of talent.  Our interns are young adults with college degrees in fields such as computer science, mathematics, or finance.  They join divisions including IT, Finance, and Investments & Capital Markets.  Our partner ASAN helps identify candidates, craft job descriptions, and train managers to help interns adjust to corporate life.

Aaron, our first full-time hire who was interviewed in The Wall Street Journal, is a 26-year old data analyst from New Jersey with a B.S. in Mathematics and a concentration in actuarial science. Aaron joined Freddie Mac as an intern last fall and was hired as a full-time employee in January. Previously, Aaron worked as a cashier after interviewing for a number of jobs in insurance, banking, retail, and with temp agencies.  Aaron says of his new position here, "I enjoy doing the job and it suits my background."

A program like this to expand our focus on diversity to include people with autism will, we believe, lead to a stronger workforce — bringing benefits to our diversity effort and to the company going forward.

*Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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