Google is teaming up with Stanford University in an effort to make its workforce more neurodiverse.
The technology giant said recently that it is launching a new program aimed at bringing more people with autism into its cloud workforce and supporting them better.
With Google Cloud’s Autism Career Program, the company said that it will work with experts from the Stanford Neurodiversity Project — part of the university’s medical school — to train as many as 500 Google Cloud managers and others who are integral in the hiring process to work more effectively with candidates who have autism.
Stanford will also help coach job applicants with autism and the support will continue if candidates are hired.
In addition, there will be changes to the interview process for those who are part of the Autism Career Program in order to be more accommodating, according to Rob Enslin, president of global customer operations for Google Cloud. Candidates with autism may receive extra interview time, be offered questions in advance or be able to do their interview in writing.
“These accommodations don’t give those candidates an unfair advantage,” Enslin said in a blog post about the new program. “It’s just the opposite: They remove an unfair disadvantage so candidates have a fair and equitable chance to compete for the job.”
Enslin cited statistics showing that just 29% of those with autism have paid employment, a situation he called “tragic” and one he said is in many cases the result of unconscious bias.
“This bias often unintentionally marginalizes great candidates and means businesses miss out on valuable talent who can contribute and enrich the workplace,” Enslin said. “This program is just one example of Google Cloud’s commitment to inclusion, and it is an important step forward to building a more representative team and creating value for customers and stakeholders.”