Schedule A Hiring: A Great Option for Autistic Job Seekers

Time for a sobering truth.  The data on employment rates for autistic young adults isn’t great. Autistic young adults have the lowest employment rate even among their peers with other disabilities. National data shows that only 58% of autistic young adults in their 20s are employed. Among these young adults only about 20% are employed full-time. See more stats from the A.J. Drexel Autism Institute here.

So why is this?

There are a number of obstacles autistic job seekers face. First, autistic young adults may encounter difficulty navigating the hiring process. On one hand, they may be loathe to disclose their autism; on the other hand, they are acutely aware that their autism can put them at a huge disadvantage during employment interviews. Some industries, mainly in the tech sector, recognize that neurodiverse job seekers have many desirable qualities as employees but are often overlooked because they do not interview well. Special hiring programs are popping up in tech and spreading to other industries. You can find more information about these programs online including here.

How can we overcome this?

Neurodiverse hiring programs can be great options for job seekers in certain industries, but what if your desired area of employment lies in an area without one of these programs? The Federal government might be the answer through the Federal Schedule A hiring.

As part of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Federal government sets aside jobs across all agencies and skill levels for non-competitive hiring for individuals with documented disabilities, including Autism. The beauty of Schedule A is that it completely solves the “disclosure problem”! When you apply for a Schedule A job, the employer already knows you have a disability. By finding a job on the Schedule A list, you already know that the employer is open to hiring individuals with disabilities and that you can openly ask for application and interview accommodations. For ideas about accommodations, see my blog post on the Job Accommodation Network here.

You can learn about Schedule A here and search Schedule A jobs here, but here are a few key points:

  1. Federal agencies operate in almost every city and state. No matter where you want to work, Schedule A will have relevant postings.
  2. Schedule A hiring requires a letter documenting your disability. You can talk to your doctor or psychologist to get this letter.
  3. You must meet the qualifications for any job to which you apply. Look for jobs that fit your interests or skillsets.

If you’re looking for personalized coaching to help you thrive at work, schedule an intro chat here.

Good luck with your search!