Big four firm KPMG LLP has partnered with Melwood, as part of the three Phase Two prize winners of the Administration for Community Living (ACL) Inclusive Pipeline Challenge competition.
The competition aims to produce an “innovative pilot program that would help expand the recruiting and retention of workers with intellectual and developmental disabilities”, including autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
The three Phase Two winners are currently in the Phase Three challenge, refining their models for a $100,000 grand prize.
Sean Hoffman, partner, KPMG LLP, said: “Although currently there is global competition for talent, statistics show that most autistic adults remain unemployed or underemployed regardless of their skill set.
“Together with Melwood, we created a unique program that would fill job openings with skilled neurodiverse people, such as autistic individuals, who are eager to connect with employers who are seeking to broaden and diversify their talent pool. Thus far, our program has been successful at unlocking the untapped talent of neurodiverse individuals.”
KPMG and Melwood reportedly developed a solution based on Melwood’s 14-week abilIT program of technical IT instruction, soft skills training, job search assistance, job placement and on-the-job coaching. The program provides participants with the confidence, credentials and skills to land entry-level technology or technology-adjacent jobs.
Of the 80 neurodiverse participants in the KPMG/Melwood Phase 2 study, 62 individuals (78 percent) graduated from the program, with 49 graduates (61 percent) sitting for a certification exam and 31 (39 percent) earning at least one certification. With program graduates earning salaries of up to $95,000 per year, the median wage for the program’s job outcomes is more than double the median wage of traditional vocational rehabilitation programs in the region. Three of the study participants enrolled in college.