Specialisterne Foundation

Global Transformation of Employment Systems to Include Neurodiverse Talent

Lead Organization

Specialisterne Foundation

Ballerup, Region Hovedstaden, Denmark


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To learn more about – or provide significant funding to – this project, please contact Lever for Change.

Project Summary

Neurodiversity such as autism and ADHD affects more than three percent of the World’s population. The unemployment or underemployment rate may be as high as 80% due to lack of understanding, training and accommodation.This high number is unacceptable to Specialisterne Foundation and our partners; Professor Rob Austin at Ivey Business School (Canada), The Frist Center for Autism and Innovation at Vanderbilt University (USA) and The Faculty for Social Sciences at Aalborg University (Denmark).Therefore, we have teamed up to enable and secure decent work for 100.000 neurodiverse people and economic growth for companies and communities around the World. We will reach the goal by expanding our portfolio of best practices, establish operations in markets covering about half of the World’s population, expand our community model to 20 additional cities and provide platforms for exponential scale of jobs. The project will create equal opportunities for neurodiverse people globally and locally.

Problem Statement

In the U.S. autism (a lifelong developmental disability) is estimated to affect 1.7% of the population - and ADHD is estimated to affect 3 - 5% of children (CDC). The prevalence rate differ by countriy based on access to diagnostics, but the intrinsic prevalence is most likely universal. The un/under employment rate among autistic people is estimated to 80% in the U.S. as result of lack of understanding how to create workplaces in which autistic people excel.Autistic people risk dropping out of higher education and being rejected by recruiters as socially odd. Autistic people are often very direct, precise, not good at selling themselves and struggle to read other's expectations. In some countries, there is still a strong stigma associated with the condition. The costs of caring for Americans with autism had reached $268 billion in 2015 (NCBI). The majority of costs being related to services for adults.Employers around the world struggle to recruit for vacant positions in sectors that have been proven a good fit for many autistic/neurodiverse people.Individuals, families, employers and communities are affected socially and financially by the high un/underemployment rate.There is currently no global organisation with the power to effectively close the gap between unused talent among millions of neurodiverse people and the millions of unfilled positions in the labor market. Companies need to master diversity and inclusion to compete and governments are looking for savings in social welfare while experiencing increased costs due to ever increasing number of people with neurodiversity diagnosis.

Solution Overview

We will build a global platform facilitating 100.000 jobs for autistic/neurodiverse people worldwide. The success is derived from 15 years of experience based on the Specialisterne Model: finding neurodiverse talent, scoping tasks to become “neurodiverse friendly”, matchmaking with potential companies and ensuring that the neurodiverse talent is properly included in the workplace.A global network of partners under the Specialisterne umbrella will work togher to achieve the goal of 1 million meaningful jobs by 2030 for neurodiverse people. This includes building out the organization, hiring experienced operational managers and people who have worked with system change in large NGOs in different geographies and cultures. We will engage our global network to co-create models that will work in different cultures with different beneficiaries.The project will create twenty community models of practise in developed markets where diversity and inclusion are key drivers to success. The community model comprises the collaboration between local governments, companies/employers, knowledge institutions and facilitators of jobs for neurodiverse talent.We will create five new key markets in developing countries (China, India, Indonesia, Nigeria and Columbia) where we need to build awareness, acceptance and appreciation of autistic/neurodiverse people through showcasing their active contribution in meaningful and productive jobs.We will build and maintain a global database for matchmaking, career building, E-learning and knowledge sharing between neurodiverse people, companies, knowledge institutions, local governments, schools, families and other stakeholders.And essentially, we orchestrate the development and documentation of best practice for the creation and management of diverse teams and organizations.

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Project Funders

  • Frist Foundation

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