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Microsoft Corp. is will begin hiring people with autism for full-time positions in its Redmond, Wash. location as part of a pilot program.

The software maker is partnering with Specialisterne, a Danish company that hires people with autism. Specialisterne (The Specialists in Danish), also has a Canadian branch. For now, Microsoft’s (NASDAQ: MSFT) program will be limited to the United States.

“People with autism bring strengths that we need at Microsoft, each individual is different, some have amazing ability to retain information, think at a level of detail and depth or excel in math or code,” said Mary Ellen Smith, vice-president of worldwide operations for Microsoft, in a blog post today. “It’s a talent pool that we want to continue to bring to Microsoft.”

Smith made the announcement at the World Autism Day event at the United Nations in New York, last Thursday. The theme of the event was “Autism, The Employment Advantage.”

In her blog, Smith also said she has a son with autism. She said the theme resonates with her on “two levels.”

“First, as a parent. I am the proud mom of Shawn, now 19, diagnosed with autism when he was four-years-old. Secondly, as a proud executive at Microsoft. A company that believes in strong diversity,” she said.

Candidates interested in the pilot program can email resumes to msautism@microsoft.com.

 



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