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Autism Employment Connector Challenge Seeks Problem Solvers To Lower Barriers

For the one in 45 adults on the autism spectrum, finding a job can bring unique challenges. While many people with autism have great talents and skills that employers desire, some autistic jobseekers have difficulty navigating employment interfaces, understanding abstract language and communicating their abilities using traditional text and talk. With the  70,000 – 100,000 teens with autism transitioning from school to employment each year, it is critical that current and future job seekers are supported when searching for gainful employment.

To that end, Autism Speaks, the nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting solutions across the spectrum and throughout the lifespan for people with autism and their families, today launches the “Autism Employment Connector Challenge” with HeroX, the leading platform and open marketplace for crowdsourced solutions. The goal of the Challenge is to increase accessibility to employment networking and career development opportunities with a solution that supports autistic job seekers with navigating the employment search and application process while effectively communicating skills and abilities to prospective employers.

“At Autism Speaks, we’ve witnessed the communication mismatch that is causing a structural problem in the hiring process and creating a barrier to employment for hundreds of thousands of adults with autism,” said David Kearon, Director of Adult Services and Support at Autism Speaks. “With the power of a big idea, we hope to find an accessible, inclusive job-sourcing solution that will connect job seekers to open roles and employers to candidates outside of traditional talent pools.”

“Current employment platforms operate under cultural rules that might not be inclusive to everyone,” said Kal K. Sahota, CEO of HeroX. “The HeroX community is filled with disruptive thinkers who can re-envision how applicants with autism find jobs, making sure we can all benefit from the skills they bring to the table.”

The Challenge: Autism Speaks is searching for a solution to help increase accessibility for autistic job seekers to search employment opportunities and navigate the application process with the end goal to connect with potential employers.    

This requires identifying and removing structural biases that currently exist in the hiring process. Entrepreneurs, researchers, scientists, students, existing employment platform services, staffing experts, and anyone eager to include cognitive, sensory, and intellectual differences into the diversity and inclusion movement is invited to take on this challenge and create a solution.  

The Prize: The top three winning solutions will receive $15,000, $10,000 and $5,000, respectively.

Eligibility to Compete and Win Prize(s):  The challenge is open to individuals age 18 (eighteen) years or older who are U.S. Citizens or permanent residents of the United States, organizations that are incorporated in and maintain a primary place of business in the United States, and private teams, public teams, and collegiate teams comprised of otherwise eligible individuals or organizations and are led by an otherwise eligible individual or organization, All Innovators must be able to participate without violation of any third-party rights or obligations, including without limitation an employer’s policies or procedures.

To accept the challenge, visit

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