Create Opportunities for a Neurodiverse Workforce

As hiring managers navigate the future of work, they must also help to create opportunities for a neurodiverse workforce.

Larysa Kautz is the President and CEO of Melwood, a nonprofit organization that helps people with disabilities find and do meaningful work.

In the broad future of work discussion, neurodiversity gets scant attention. And yet the number of neurodiverse people in the workforce is considerable.

The neurodiverse workforce often includes people with physical or intellectual disability. Furthermore, its ranks include people on the autism spectrum, and, those diagnosed with ADHD.

However, one year since the pandemic started, the neurodiverse workforce expanded to include so-called Covid long-haulers. These are people who now suffer long-term and permanent disability. What is more, they may present with difficult conditions, such as brain fog and balance issues, that require special workplace accommodations.

In this episode, Larysa:

  • Describes Melwood and its mission. Starts at 2:57
  • Defines neurdiversity. Starts at 3:38
  • Illustrates the challenges neurodiverse candidates encounter when applying for work. Starts at 4:52
  • Explains the benefits neurodiverse workers gain when working from home is an option. Starts at 10:07
  • Looks back at the 30-year history of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Starts at 13:27
  • Discusses the positive future of work benefits of hiring and supporting neurodiverse workers. Starts at 23:48

Hiring managers must create opportunities for a neurodiverse workforce. And yet, Larysa points out a glaring injustice that has long plagued the disabled:

“It’s still legal in this country to pay people with disabilities less than the minimum wage.”

About our guest:

Larysa Kautz earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Relations from Connecticut College and a Juris Doctorate from Yale Law School. Larysa lives and works in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.

EPISODE DATE: March 5, 2021

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