Will Collett has worked as a vacuum cleaner salesman, a carpet cleaner for the National Park Service, and at an amusement park. Opportunities for the 32-year-old, who is on the autism spectrum, have always been tough to find.
Then he found the training program at auticon, an IT consulting firm that seeks out a neurodiverse workforce, or employees with a range of neurological differences, including dyslexia, social anxiety, and those on the autism spectrum.
Of auticon’s 300 employees, more than 200 are on the autism spectrum — a rare ratio for a company in the United States. Experts say the unemployment and underemployment rate for autistic people in the United States falls anywhere between 50% and 90%.
Now Collett is a QA analyst at auticon, working on finding bugs in software and on websites for clients around the world. Like many Americans, he’s now working from home, which Collett says plays to his strengths as someone on the autism spectrum.
“A lot of us are a lot more introverted,” said Collett. “There’s always a certain point when I’m like, OK, I’m done hanging out with people. I’m going to go sit over here on my phone. I’m still having a great time, but I’m just kind of like done associating with people. And what I feel is really helpful for work from home, is that we can do just that,” Collett continued. “We can do our work. We can focus on our work. And then when we need to talk to somebody — OK, let’s open up a Zoom call. Let’s open up a mic chat.”
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