Advancing Neurodiversity in Maryland’s Workforce

Scroll down for information on Upcoming Sessions.

We’re adding a Montgomery County Cohort in 2023!  

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 was created by the Howard County Autism Society to advance workplace neurodiversity and acceptance, connecting businesses to an untapped workforce of skilled Autistic adults and targeting jobseekers not supported by existing systems.

We are building a sustainable pipeline for its future. Here’s why:

Citizens with great jobs they love!  We focus on the person, raising the bar for those with Autism and building self-confidence.

Business with terrific employees that speak to their bottom lines.  We match the ability of the person to the need of the employer and provide ongoing supports.

A more inclusive workforce.  Diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace includes those with disabilities.  And differing viewpoints can only make your business stronger!

It’s about connection.  We help people who want jobs and can do jobs connect to employers who have jobs and needs employees.

To learn more, email or call 410-290-3466.

The program is sponsored by the Howard County Autism Society with support from Howard County, MD, the Maryland Developmental Disabilities Council*, WorkSource Montgomery and Arbor Dog Foundation. Organizational partners include Accessible Resources for Independence and the Howard County Office of Workforce Development.

CLICK to Support Our Work!


Montgomery County, MD  NEW! – The Autism Hiring Program is coming to Montgomery County, MD in 2023 with 3 cohort sessions:

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

SUMMER (June – August) – Deadline to apply is May 15, 2023

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

CLICK to download the Montgomery County Application.


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

WINTER (January – March) – The deadline to apply for this session has passed

SPRING (April – June) – March 24, 2023

FALL (September – December) – September 15, 2023

CLICK to download the Mid-MD Session Application


CANDIDATES:  Interested in applying?!

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

NOTE on RESIDENCY: You do not need to be a Howard County resident to participate. For our Mid-Maryland  program, we accept candidates who reside in Howard County and the surrounding counties. However, applicants for the new program in Montgomery County, MD must be residents of that county.

EMPLOYERS:  Looking for great candidates?!

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 






Arbor Dog Foundation

Howard County, MD

Maryland Developmental Disabilities Council  *

WorkSource Montgomery

And many individual and corporate supporters!

* This project was supported, in part by grant number CFDA 93.630, from the U.S. Administration for Community Living, Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, D.C. 20201. Grantees undertaking projects with government sponsorship are encouraged to express freely their findings and conclusions. Points of view or opinions do not, therefore, necessarily represent official ACL policy. Any product or webpage that includes the Council logo, and / or acknowledging funding provided by the Council, needs to contain the above disclaim

#EXPECTATIONSMATTER  –  CLICK to watch the video!







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:


Thank you for supporting our first BIKE TO THE BEACH ride on July 29!  Over $7,500 raised for the Autism Hiring Program!


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



The Autism Hiring Program positively impacts our candidates and employers, but also our staff, partners and family members. Here’s what they are saying:

”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 of Candidate

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

“COVID has had a disproportionately devastating impact on the lives of people with disabilities like autism. As we as a nation seek to “build back better,” 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.”  –Katie Collins-Ihrke, MBA, MS, Executive Director, Accessible Resources for Independence

“It’s all about communicating expectations and giving everyone the opportunity to succeed.”  -William Lowe, Owner, Rathskeller, AHP Employer

“UMBC Training Centers has been a committed partner with HCAS in the planning, launch and first year of operations of the Autism Hiring Project. We specifically provided career guidance and technical training services for participants of the program. We have been pleased to play such a role with this important project, which has generated positive outcomes for its first cohort of participants.”  -Brent Campbell, Head of Admissions for Workforce Training Programs, UMBC Training Centers

“Programs like the Autism Hiring Project 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

“The discussions were fun. Kelly provided opportunities and perspectives that were very helpful.”  -Candidate

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

“We are thrilled to partner with the Howard County Autism Society to expand their Autism Hiring Program for Montgomery County residents. In such a tight labor market where the number of jobs double the number of jobseekers, it’s critical that employers tap into untapped talent pipelines—and we know that with the proper support, skilled Autistic adults can meet the talent needs of many local and regional employer partners. We’re looking forward to a longstanding partnership with the Howard County Autism Society to increase employment supports for Autistic adults.”  -Anthony Featherstone, Executive Director for WorkSource Montgomery.

“Hello, great news. Today, I interviewed for a warranty processor position at Re Michel in Glen Burnie and was offered the job. I start working with Re Michel on April 12 for a good salary. Thank you for the Howard County Autism Hiring program because it taught me how to write a resume and interview for the job. I look forward to telling how things are going on at Re Michel from time to time. “ -Candidate

I am the mother of a 30-year old son who participated in the Autism Hiring Program.  The Autism Hiring Program resulted in his achieving the type of employment that he has long desired and that will allow him to develop both professionally and personally.  He, I, and his father are very grateful that this program was available.    – Parent