The Center for Neurodiversity & Employment Innovation
The Center for Neurodiversity & Employment Innovation
Unemployment for neurodivergent adults runs at least as high as 30-40% which is three times the rate for people with disability, and eight times the rate for people without disability. Exact figures are unknown because there are few resources that track the specifics of unemployment among a wide range of neurodiversity, not just autism but also ADHD, dyspraxia, dyscalculia, dysgraphia and many other neurological differences. Unfortunately, in many cases the research needed for developing these statistics does not exist yet. However, even at the most conservative of estimates, millions of neurodivergent adults are struggling to find meaningful employment that allows them to live independent, fulfilling lives.
UConn’s Center for Neurodiversity and Employment Innovation seeks to lead. The center will develop and share the critical innovations necessary to improve employment outcomes for neurodivergent adults and the companies that employ them.
Neurodiversity refers to the concept that differences in brain functioning within the human population are normal, and that brain functioning that is not “neurotypical” should not be stigmatized or excluded. People with autism, ADHD, dyslexia, dyspraxia and other neurological differences are collectively referred to as neurodivergent individuals.
The Employment Challenge
Neurodivergent adults who are eager to work professionally are often left out of the workforce or forced into lower skill jobs for a variety of reasons - non-inclusive hiring and retention practices, lack of employer education and training, absence of support ecosystems on the job, and skill differences or needs that often do not align with standard business operations all contribute to the problem.
Employers Tapping New Talent
Organizations have begun recognizing the value of hiring neurodivergent individuals. Their ability to approach problems differently and bring innovative solutions and ideas to the table creates real value. Moreover, increased levels of morale for all employees within an organization is often a result of greater levels of diversity and inclusivity. Lower turnover, higher productivity and better overall employee engagement create a compelling ROI story for companies pursuing a neurodiverse workforce.
Neurodiversity at UConn
Neurodiversity at UConn:
If you are a UConn student or recent alumni who identifies as neurodivergent (autism, ADHD, dyslexia, and other cognitive differences) interested in learning more about how UConn supports your unique needs in preparing for and finding employment, please join our community by registering below.
Working in collaboration with UConn’s Center for Career Development (CCD), UConn offers:
- Connection to jobs and internships with employers who embrace neurodiversity
- Individualized job search support and coaching
- Training for students in skills needed for career success
Employers Seeking Neurodivergent Talent:
Nationwide Talent Pipeline of Neurodivergent College Students:
UConn’s Center for Neurodiversity and Employment Innovation is excited to announce the University Council for Neurodiversity Employment. The University Council is a collaboration of 65+ colleges and universities working collectively and proactively to build a robust nationwide talent pipeline of neurodivergent (ND) college students. The council produces ND college graduates who are better prepared for employment and more accessible to employers in need of their talents, by utilizing a standardized process for inclusive recruiting across member schools.
Neurodiversity Training and Education:
Organizations are eager to learn what they can do to create more inclusive workplaces for employees with autism, ADHD, and other cognitive differences. But operationalizing that “neuro-inclusive” concept proves difficult. What are we talking about when we say “neurodiversity” and how does it manifest in the day-to-day activities of an organization? And what should employees do differently to contribute to that more inclusive workplace?
CNDEI delivers innovative employer education that takes companies through building their neurodiversity employment pilot initiative step-by step. It provides executives, managers, teams and HR talent professionals with the critical neurodiversity training and tools to make those initiatives succeed. For more information on how to get started, or to register for an upcoming group Consulting Session, inquire below.
Universities and Colleges:
UConn’s Center for Neurodiversity and Employment Innovation is excited to announce the University Council for Neurodiversity Employment founded in partnership with KPMG. The University Council’s goal is to work collectively to build a nationwide talent pipeline of ND college students who are better prepared for employment and more accessible to employers seeking their talent, and which utilizes a standardized process for inclusive recruiting across member schools. The council has limited space for additional members, but we would encourage you to inquire if your school is a fit.
To register for all Neurodiversity hiring opportunities contact: Judy.Reilly@uconn.edu
Corporate Founding Partners
Organization of the Center
The Prototype Lab is where we will identify, further develop, and test different approaches for solving the employment challenge. This process will allow us to understand the impacts of the most promising approaches and begin to implement them across all levels of the problem.
The Knowledge Hub seeks to be the central location for what is already known and developed around the topic of neurodiversity and employment. Here information from the prototype lab activities will be collected, organized, and kept up to date so that it can be made available to all interested parties.
The Innovation Fund will focus on finding, funding, and amplifying new solutions created outside of the center. We will identify individuals, companies and organizations that are developing new ideas, and provide seed funding to help bring those ideas to market.
The Center is currently pursuing the development of programs that will help the neurodivergent college student population prepare for and secure post-graduation employment, as well as provide partner employers access to critical knowledge, support, and instruction in how to increase a neurodiverse workforce at their organization.
For more information about the Center for Neurodiversity and Employment Innovation at UConn, contact:
Director, Center for Neurodiversity and Employment Innovation