The Howard County Autism Society (HCAS) was honored to be selected as one of eight recipients to receive an Innovation Grant from Howard County. The $10,000 grant award will support a pilot Autism Hiring Center, an effort to advance neurodiversity and connect Howard County businesses to a competent, capable workforce. Howard County Executive Calvin Ball presented the award on March 3rd at the HCAS offices.

“Business thrives on imagination – and we wanted to do our part to support and encourage innovative ideas,” said Ball. “These grants not only support projects that will benefit residents but will hopefully foster a culture of inventive ideas throughout our business and non-profit community.” Ball announced the $225,000 Innovation Fund last year to stimulate unique and creative ideas within Howard County.

The Autism Hiring Program will address the needs of potential employees with autism who have high-level, marketable skills and would benefit from assistance to find and sustain meaningful employment. These are individuals who do not receive traditional supports and, all too often, fall through the cracks when seeking to secure and sustain appropriate employment.

At the same time, the project seeks to support and encourage local business entities hungry for capable staff to:
o Take an existing model used successfully by several large corporations and modify it for their use
o Successfully onboard qualified individuals who will make a significant contribution to their bottom line
o Build a culture of inclusion within their companies
o Prepare and support their management and staff in hiring and supporting individuals with ASD.

HCAS congratulates the other Innovation Grant awardees: Community Ecology Institute, Office of Sustainability, American Diversity Group, Department of Community Resources, Humanim, STEERTech and the Economic Development Authority, and Respite Retreats.

Interested employers and employee candidates are encouraged to contact HCAS at 410-290-3466 or