Advancing Neurodiversity in Maryland’s Workforce


Scroll down for information and applications. 

Did you know that 85% of Autistic adults with a college education are unemployed, and over 90% of adults with Autism are underemployed or unemployed?

The Autism Hiring Program advances workplace neurodiversity and acceptance, connecting businesses to an untapped workforce of skilled Autistic adults and targeting jobseekers not supported by existing systems.  Created in 2021 by the Howard County Autism Society, it addresses the needs of Autistic adults who have high level, marketable skills but have struggled to secure and maintain desirable employment. On the business side, it connects employers to this competent, capable workforce, improving their bottom line while creating a more inclusive and neurodiverse work environment.

Impactful: The results translate into meaningful career opportunities for skilled workers, access to talented employees for businesses, and a more inclusive workforce!

The need: The need for this program and others like it is massive with 700,000+ Autistic individuals transitioning into adulthood in the U.S. in the next decade. However, the overall rate of unemployment for those with Autism remains higher than those with other disabilities. And 85% of college grads affected by Autism are unemployed or under employed.

Focus on the individual: Our candidates are high school graduates with certifications, some college or college degrees. They engage in a 10-week program of group and individual sessions designed to build independence, social and essential workplace skills, assessing interests and encouraging self advocacy. We focus on the person with the goal of securing employment that fits candidates’ skills sets and interests. Ongoing peer support meetings are an essential piece of the program.

Supports for employers: The Autism Hiring Program engages employers to ensure a good fit for candidates AND add to their bottom line. We provide training for managers and staff on Autism, neurodiversity, ADA compliance, inclusivity, and natural supports, creating a sustainable system through which they can hire and retain great candidates. Modeled on hiring programs run by large corporations, it’s a great fit for those who could not or would not create a hiring program on their own.

Learn more: Interested in joining us as a Candidate or an Employer? Contact the Autism Hiring Program at or 410-290-3466 or visit us online at

CLICK to Support Our Work!


Anne Arundel, MD  NEW!

SESSION 1: Late Oct.-Dec. 2023 – Deadline to apply is October 15, 2023

SESSION 2: Jan.-March 2024 – Deadline to apply is January 15, 2024

SESSION 3: April-June 2024 – Deadline to apply is March 15, 2024

SESSION 4: Sept. – Nov. 2024 – Deadline to apply is August 15, 2024

CLICK to download the Anne Arundel County Application


Montgomery County, MD  

SPRING (March – June) – Deadline to apply is February 21, 2023 – COMPLETED


FALL (September – December) – Deadline to Apply is August 15, 2023 – REGISTRATION NOW CLOSED


CLICK to download the Montgomery County Application.


Mid-Maryland – Open to individuals in Howard County, MD and the surrounding counties with 3 cohort sessions

FALL (September – December) – Deadline to Apply is September 15, 2023

WINTER (January – March) – Deadline to apply is December 15, 2024

SPRING (April – June)  -Deadline to apply is March 15, 2024

CLICK to download the Mid-MD Session Application




The ideal candidate for this program is someone who comes to it with an open mind, is committed to their own success, and whose ultimate goal is to find and sustain meaningful employment. Other requirements:

-Have an Autism diagnosis

-High school degree/GED and may also  have certifications, some college and/or college degree(s)

-Not currently receiving services from DDA, DORS, an agency, or employment specialist/counselor

-Able to attend weekly peer group and 1:1 sessions independently with our staff virtually and in person

– Responsive to requests from our staff to schedule meetings, coaching sessions, interviews, trainings


We are actively seeking employers interested in partnering with us to build their workforce!

– Our candidates are currently working in the fields of Cyber/IT, Retail, Administration, Recreation, Engineering, Warehouse, Hospitality, Security, Manufacturing, among others.

– We provide training on Neurodiversity in the Workforce for your Team, led by experienced professionals

– Once a candidate is placed with your organization, we are available to provide support throughout the onboarding process and beyond!

For more information, email Linda Hoyt at 







  • Runner-up for 2023 Gula Tech Foundation Summer 2023 Competitive Grant Program
  • Recipient of 2023 Community Project (CP) Funding / Congressional Directed Spending grant funds
  • 2022 Provider of the Year, Maryland Works
  • Finalist for the 2021 Innovation Fund Grant from The Workers Lab



#EXPECTATIONSMATTER  –  CLICK to watch the video!







Thank you for supporting our first BIKE TO THE BEACH ride on July 28, 2023 that raised over $12,000  for the Autism Hiring Program!






Autism Hiring Program Receives Congressional Funding
On July 25, 2023, the Autism Society welcomed Senator Ben Cardin, Senator Chris Van Hollen, and Congressman John Sarbanes. They joined us for a discussion on Neurodiversity in Maryland’s Workplace and recognition of a $440,000 FY23 Community Project Award for the Autism Hiring Program! Funds provided will help to sustain and grow the project, including expansion to a new site in partnership with Towson University’s Hussman Center for Adults with Autism. We are grateful for the incredible support of these three elected officials, distinguished guests that included Secretary Carol Beatty from the Maryland Developmental Disabilities Administration and Howard County Council Member Cristiana Rigby, Towson University Interim President Melanie Perreault, PhD, as well as our AHP partners, supporters and guests who joined us for the event.
The Autism Hiring Program was named a Runner-Up for a $50,000 grant from the Gula Tech Foundation at the 2023 RSA Conference in San Francisco on April 26, 2023. A total of $1 million was awarded to six nonprofits that aid the training and development of talented neurodivergent individuals to position them for and accelerate careers in cybersecurity and IT. Our profound thanks to Cyndi and Ron Gula and their team for recognizing our program in this way. Funds will be used to support AHP candidates interested in pursuing a career in cybersecurity and IT!  Congratulations to all the awardees. We are in amazing company and look forward to supporting one another in our work across the country!


The Howard County Autism Society has been awarded a $100,000 Workforce Recovery Network 2.0 grant from WorkSource Montgomery to expand its Autism Hiring Program to Montgomery County, MD starting in 2023. Funding will support three cohorts of candidates, all Montgomery County residents, in the spring, summer and fall. Applications for the first Montgomery County cohort are being accepted through February 21, 2023. Additional sessions will continue for residents of Howard County and the surrounding areas in mid-Maryland. (February 2023)


The Autism Hiring Program was recognized as “Provider of the Year” by Maryland Works at its Annual Employment Awards Luncheon on November 22, 2022 at the BWI Marriott Hotel.  Thank you to Maryland Works for this honor and to our partner organizations, employers, candidates and donors for their ongoing support of the program!  Click to watch the Video!



AHP in the news on Fox-45 Baltimore!   “Local Organization Works to Connect Employers to Adults With Autism”






Congratulations to Pete Pappas & Sons Inc., Clarks Ace Hardware-Ellicott City, and Accessible Resources for Independence, three of our HCAS Autism Hiring Program Partners, who were recognized on October 19, 2022  by the Howard County Commission on Disabilities. The commission honored employers who value diversity and provide equal opportunities for employees with disabilities during the Commission’s 2022 Employer Awards ceremony at Belmont Manor in Elkridge. Clarks Hardware was recognized for its efforts to build an inclusive workforce. Pete Pappas and Sons received the Large For-Profit Award as an employer who values diversity and promotes equal opportunities for employees with disabilities. ARI, who delivers curriculum for the Autism Hiring Program and supports our peer group, received the Small Non-Profit Award for leading by example as an employer. Congratulations to all of the winners! Click below for the complete list of recipients.

AHP Receives $75,000 Grant from Howard County!  The Autism Hiring Program has been awarded a $75,000 grant from the Howard County Government!  Thank you to County Executive Calvin Ball and his staff, Fran Trout from Howard County Office of Workforce Development, our incredible AHP team, Accessible Resources for Independence, a growing pipeline of employers, and, most importantly, our amazing candidates! Link to the announcement can be found at:




The Business Monthly (June 2022): Read about The Autism Hiring Program in June issue! The Autism Hiring Program (page 9)

Autism Hiring Program a Finalist for the 2021 Innovation Fund Grant from The Workers Lab!  The Howard County Autism Society was honored to have been among the finalists for the 2021 Innovation Fund at The Workers Lab for our Autism Hiring Program! Out of 400 applicants nationwide, 12 were selected to compete for six $150,000 awards; six were selected.  While we were not among those selected this year, we were grateful for the opportunity to participate and salute all of the finalists!   About The Workers Lab



“I’m certainly optimistic. And I have someone I can email when I have concerns on the job. -Candidate

“It’s all about communicating expectations and giving everyone the opportunity to succeed.” -Employer

”This one step, which in some ways seems like a small step, is the one that will enable my son to make all his dreams come true and, for our family, we’re just so happy for him.” -Parent

“I can’t think of any other program I’ve been prouder to be part of.” -Staff Member

“The Autism Hiring Project and programs like it help ensure that people with disabilities are provided the unique supports they need to secure meaningful employment.” – Partner

“Programs like the Autism Hiring Progam must be carefully designed to provide customized supports for individuals with different assets, traits, and challenges. They can be difficult to launch, operate and fund, which is why the initial success experienced by the Autism Hiring Project has been so gratifying and encouraging.” -Francine Trout, Director, Howard County Office of Workforce Development