The launch of a new pilot program positions Microsoft as the latest corporate giant looking to tap the employment potential of those on the spectrum.

The company says plans are underway to hire individuals with autism for full-time positions at its Redmond, Wash. headquarters.

Microsoft said it will work with Specialisterne, a nonprofit that focuses on helping people with the developmental disorder apply their talents to work in the technology field, to facilitate the hiring effort.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

Initially, the program is expected to include about 10 people with autism, a Microsoft spokeswoman told Disability Scoop.

“Microsoft is stronger when we expand opportunity and we have a diverse workforce that represents our customers,” wrote Mary Ellen Smith, Microsoft’s corporate vice president of worldwide operations, in a blog post announcing the pilot program. “People with autism bring strengths that we need at Microsoft, each individual is different, some have amazing ability to retain information, think at a level of detail and depth or excel in math or code.”

Smith, who has a 19-year-old son with autism, said that Microsoft already works with its vendor partners to employ people with disabilities in supported employment situations for roles in event services, transportation and food services. Though the new pilot program is focused on autism, Smith said Microsoft is “passionate about hiring individuals of all disabilities.”

Microsoft is not the first technology company to actively hire people with autism. SAP, a Germany-based software giant, has worked with Specialisterne to hire those on the spectrum in the United States and abroad.

Read more stories like this one. Sign up for Disability Scoop's free email newsletter to get the latest developmental disability news sent straight to your inbox.