Specialisterne and The Arc working on US expansion
As the World Economic Forum kicks off in Davos, Switzerland, Specialisterne USA and The Arc announced a new agreement to help Specialisterne replicate its successful model of employing people with autism in the tech industry in the United States. By utilizing The Arc’s strong network of chapters, Specialisterne USA and The Arc will expand the model to sites across the US with a goal of serving technology companies nationwide.
This is the second major partnership Specialisterne USA has secured in recent months, following last Autumn’s announcement of the partnership with with Computer Aid, Inc. (CAI). In addition, The Specialisterne Foundation (former Specialist People Foundation) entered into a partnership with technology company, SAP SE in 2013. All three agreements have the common goal to provide employment opportunities for people with autism as software testers, programmers, data quality assurance specialists and other technology positions. Specialisterne USA , with operations in the Midwest, Mid Atlantic and Southwest regions of the US, and The Arc’s New York City chapter, AHRC New York City, began working to pilot replication of the Specialisterne model late last year in New York City.
Participating chapters of The Arc will be trained by Specialisterne USA to recruit, assess and train people with autism to work in technology jobs at competitive wages alongside people without disabilities. Within three years, Specialisterne USA aims to have Specialisterne operations in twelve regions of the United States, working with employers to expand their recruitment to include people with autism and similar challenges and providing a range of job coaching and mentorship services to employers and individuals with autism.
“This is a huge opportunity for individuals with autism to be trained for and employed in the high-tech sector where the career opportunities are promising. We are excited to launch this partnership with Specialisterne USA because we know it has worked in European markets, and we have our work cut out for us here in the United States to close the huge unemployment gap facing people with intellectual and developmental disabilities,” said Peter Berns, CEO of The Arc.
Thorkil Sonne, Specialisterne Founder and President of Specialisterne USA, says that the partnership with The Arc will be a key step in spreading the Specialisterne model throughout the United States. “We consider this a very important step on our journey to enable 100,000 jobs in the USA. The Arc is a perfect partner as the largest organization in the US working with people with disabilities and we have already had a very positive experience working with the New York chapter of The Arc. At the World Economic Forum in Davos I have the opportunity to discuss with business leaders how The Arc and Specialisterne can help the corporate sector in the US get access to a huge untapped pool of talent’”
About The Arc
The Arc advocates for and serves people with I/DD, including Down syndrome, autism, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders, cerebral palsy and other diagnoses. The Arc has a network of 700 chapters across the country promoting and protecting the human rights of people with I/DD and actively supporting their full inclusion and participation in the community throughout their lifetimes and without regard to diagnosis.
Editor’s Note: The Arc is not an acronym; always refer to us as The Arc, not The ARC and never ARC. The Arc should be considered as a title or a phrase.