PROVAIL has partnered with Specialisterne’s proven, innovative approach to training and developing quality career positions in the IT industry for individuals who have ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder).
Specialisterne, which translates from Danish as “The Specialists” is a socially innovative company which identifies, assesses, on-boards, and supports individuals on the autism spectrum for competitive positions at open minded employers. Specialisterne also prepares managers and work groups with communications strategies and inclusion-based approaches. For 12 years Specialisterne has worked with partners to bring talented individuals into tasks such as software testing, programming and data-entry for the public and private sectors.
The company started in Denmark and now works internationally with the goal of enabling 1 million jobs for individuals on the autism spectrum. PROVAIL has partnered with Specialisterne in the Pacific Northwest to bring the model to the technology heavy area and help companies find qualified individuals/employees who might have a challenging time with the typical interview process and making social connections that lead to employment. Microsoft has taken the lead in The Pacific Northwest and partnered with PROVAIL and Specialisterne to run a pilot cohort for individuals on the autism spectrum.
Opportunities for Program Participants:
Participants with a profile that matches job descriptions within the current company working with PROVAIL requests to join one of the hangouts at PROVAIL to see if they are a good fit for an upcoming cohort. Selected individuals are then invited to a cohort at a local technology-based company where their abilities are assessed and a potential job fit is determined. Participants whose profile does not match available positions can apply to become a PROVAIL participant if they would like to continue with job placement services.
The assessments are held at the site of an employer partner and determine the unique abilities of the program participants as well as their ability to work, learn, adapt, and assimilate in the specific employer environment. The employer partner provides work site mentors as well as training and support to supervisors, co-workers and other employees to ensure that the work environment is accessible and open to embracing the program participants. During this process, employers also learn to appreciate the business value brought by the program participants: high level technical skills or aptitude, intense work ethic, unique perspective for resolving difficult issues and low turnover.
Program participants are trained using the Scrum Agile framework in areas such as:
- Software Development and Coding
- Quality Assurance
- Data Analysis
- Software testing
- Data handling
Individual Program Participant Requirements:
- Individuals who are diagnosed with ASD
- DVR consumer or DVR eligible
- Interest in a job within the STEM field
- Graduate of high school and over the age of 18 with professional experience or higher education commensurate with the requirements of the positions offered through the technology company.
In May and June of 2015 PROVAIL and Specialisterne ran initial "hangouts" with individuals from the Puget Sound Region and selected 10 to attend a 4-week assessment and training cohort on the Microsoft Campus. This time gave the individuals the opportunity to get acclimated to the business atmosphere and show off their skills in a more laid-back environment than a traditional interview. Hiring managers from a variety of the departments within Microsoft were able to stop by and give their input, answer questions, and collaborate with the candidates.
At the end of the four weeks, five of the participants were offered full-time and full-benefited positions in a variety of jobs with the most common being a software developer. The other five are offered the option to stay on with PROVAIL as their Community Resource Provider to help with their search or continue job searching on their own. The five who were offered positions get to keep PROVAIL services and a job coach to help them get settled into their exciting new careers.
Get in touch or ask questions:
If you are an employer or potential employee who would like more information or would like to participate, please contact Blake Konrady at (206) 714-5739 or firstname.lastname@example.org.