By: Rick J. Wilson

The race for IT talent continues. Companies of all sizes must find new ways to stay competitive. And they must strengthen their inclusive culture for all employees.

Skills in cloud and mobile computing, big data and the Internet of Things are necessary. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, computer and IT jobs will grow over 12% by 2024.

About 500,000 young adults with autism will enter the workforce in the next decade. This is a challenge—and an opportunity—for employers. Today, not all companies know how to best engage this population. Yet, many of these people’s strengths lean to technology. Think quality assurance, data services and software and website testing.  

AT&T recently joined The 5000 Initiative: Autism in Tech Workforce summit. The summit unites global companies helping those on the autism spectrum attain tech positions. The goal? Help meet the growing business demand for tech talent. And, create 5,000 jobs for people with autism by 2020.

Two AT&T leaders kicked off the conference. Chief Marketing Officer, Steve McGaw and Rachel Salinas, AT&T business operations analyst, each shared their family stories. Both uniquely understand the challenges and opportunities of young people of varying abilities as they prepare to enter the workforce. They addressed attendees with deep conviction, passion and emotion.  

Here are 4 summit areas highlighted:

  • Establish a global alliance. Team up to increase training and hiring into STEM fields.
  • Clearly define these jobs. Be an advocate for providing a living wage.
  • Find places for growth. Engage other organizations that serve the autism community and corporate partners.
  • Create success measurements.

We value diversity and inclusion at our core. And we continue to support many related initiatives and career events.

We participate in The 5000 Initiative and similar programs because, at AT&T, every voice matters.

Rick J. Wilson, Director – Diversity & Inclusion