An international software giant that’s looking to tap the unique talents of those with autism is taking on its first group of American employees on the spectrum.

Germany-based SAP said it has added workers with autism at its offices in Palo Alto, Calif. and Newtown Square, Pa. The hires bring the number of people with the developmental disorder working as software developers, data quality assurance specialists and in other positions at the company to more than 30 worldwide, SAP said.

Last year the company said it would launch a strategic effort to employ people with autism, saying that doing so offered a “potential competitive advantage.”

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Prior to bringing the concept to its offices in the United States, SAP piloted the idea in India, Ireland and Germany. Opportunities will be available in Canada as well starting this spring, the company indicated.

Domestically, SAP is working with the Pennsylvania Office of Vocational Rehabilitation and the Philadelphia chapter of The Arc as well as the California Department of Rehabilitation and the nonprofit disability service provider TransAccess to identify and train job candidates.

An internship program is also in the works to allow students with autism who have software knowledge and programming skills the opportunity to work toward employment, SAP said.

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