Tech Industry

Microsoft launches program to hire people with autism

Software giant announces a pilot program to hire people with autism for full-time positions at its headquarters.

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Microsoft

In a move to further diversify its hiring practices, Microsoft has announced that it will make a concerted effort to hire people with autism.

Working with specialist employment agency Specialisterne, which trains and finds positions for people diagnosed on the autism spectrum, the program will kick off in May with 10 full-time positions in the company's Redmond, Wash., corporate headquarters.

"Microsoft is stronger when we expand opportunity and we have a diverse workforce that represents our customers," corporate vice president of worldwide operations Mary Ellen Smith, who has a 19-year-old son diagnosed with autism, said on the company blog.

"People with autism bring strengths that we need at Microsoft, each individual is different, some have amazing ability to retain information, think at a level of detail and depth or excel in math or code," she wrote. "It's a talent pool that we want to continue to bring to Microsoft!"

Microsoft has been a corporate leader in trying to help people with autism. In 2001, the company expanded its health benefits plan to cover a promising therapy for children with autism, a move that was later adopted by companies such as Apple, Intel, Cisco, Oracle and Qualcomm. The company also educates employees on autism spectrum disorders and has hosted a hackathon to help address issue with autism.

"We are passionate about hiring individuals of all disabilities and we believe with them, we can create, support, and build great products and services," Smith said. "Our customers are diverse and we need to be as well."

Applicants interested in the positions can email their resumes to Microsoft at msautism@microsoft.com.