As we celebrate National Autism Awareness Month throughout April and World Autism Awareness Day on April 2, it is a good time to rethink how we can empower every person to achieve more. The vast majority of people with autism are either unemployed or underemployed, leaving a large pool of untapped talent. If we work together, we can help make a difference.
Along with EY, HPE and SAP, we are thrilled to sponsor the second annual Autism @ Work Summit this month in Palo Alto, California, which has become the leading forum for sharing best practices for developing inclusive hiring initiatives. The event will bring together a diverse group of companies across industries, spanning accounting, automotive, finance and technology, to promote hiring individuals with autism. The growing enthusiasm to create opportunities in this space speaks to the significance and value that every individual can bring to the workplace.
Since we announced our own Autism Hiring Program two years ago, we have evolved our approach to reach out to this untapped pool of people on the autism spectrum who are looking for opportunities to highlight their incredible talent. Our non-traditional interview process allows candidates to demonstrate their abilities in a comfortable and supportive environment and interview for full-time positions at Microsoft.
Each qualified candidate attends a weeklong hiring academy with a variety of Microsoft teams and hiring managers. They are looking to find talent and promote an inclusive and diverse culture within their teams. We have seen great success hiring software engineers, data scientists and other roles across the company, working on products and services like Azure, Cortana, HoloLens, Microsoft IT, Office, Windows, Windows Store and Xbox.
We continue to look for ways to help more candidates break through traditional barriers to gain employment. This year, Microsoft will host the first Autism @ Work virtual career fair for candidates with autism. Candidates will have a unique online experience to meet with recruiters at companies that are looking for talent. Several organizations will have virtual job booths staffed by online recruiters, including, AT&T, EY, Ford, HPE Dandelion, JP Morgan Chase, Microsoft, NCR and SAP. They will answer questions, discuss open positions and accept applications.
Each of these industry leaders have a hiring program to support candidates with autism and help them bring their best selves to an interview. As part of the virtual career fair, employees from LinkedIn will host two sessions in a “virtual theater” on how to build a profile that will help get candidates noticed and utilize their platform to find open positions that lead to careers. This is a free event and we encourage anyone to register and learn more at https://aka.ms/autism.at.work.
At Microsoft, we see disability as a strength. While we are early in our journey, we are dedicated to growing our program as we listen and learn from the broader community. We are committed to helping other employers start similar programs and learn about the benefits and opportunities to reach these talented individuals. Comes join us at the virtual career fair and if you want to learn more, visit www.Microsoft.com/InclusiveHiring.