Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show more than 9.3 million new and open employment positions. At the same time, many employers complain that they are unable to fill jobs due to a worker shortage.
A highly skilled population of workers remains untapped – job seekers on the autism spectrum and individuals with disabilities. To aid employers in connecting with this group of talent, husband and wife team Nish and Hetal Parikh co-founded Rangam, working out of their Somerset residence. Together they created an integrated and inclusive recruiting solution that combines technology, training, and education to their candidates while providing clients with a diverse network of qualified talent.
Nish said these neurodiverse individuals have specialized skillsets and by hiring them, companies benefit in numerous ways, including higher retention rates and improved productivity.
According to a recent report, an estimated 14% of adults with autism are employed in the U.S. Realizing that a significant proportion of the workforce is ignored in traditional talent acquisition because established processes are not designed to support the needs of diverse talent, the Parikhs launched the SourceAbled platform to assist companies in tapping into this talent pool. “Every one of us is connected to someone with disabilities. And while we all have good intentions to help them find a meaningful job or provide them support, we don’t know how to start, where to start, and how to support or build that inclusive culture and provide a support system at the work place,” says Nish Parikh.
Nish spent a year in a special needs classroom where he says he had his “ah-ha” moment, learning about special needs education and some of employment-related challenges. He and Hetal both started contributing at a staffing company because it was something they felt passionate about. They wanted to highlight the benefits disabled employees can bring to the workforce. To do so, they built a portal in partnership with some NGOs, and not-for-profit organizations like Autism Speaks. Their goal was to build a national platform that would connect hiring employers with people on the autism spectrum on one platform.
“We saw that there were a lot of local initiatives that were happening and as a workforce solution company, we started to partner learning from the disability community and combined it back with our staffing industry experience. And we started building some models,” said Nish.
“After five years, we started in 2014, 2015, We now a very formal framework and a great partnership with organizations like the Stanford neurodiversity project and some of the other universities where we are learning from them on building the best path,” he continued.
SourceAbled uses a consultative approach of best practices, effective training, and an end-to-end, tech-enabled hiring platform to attract, hire, onboard, support and retain neurodivergent talent.
The program has become a global workforce solution that helps connect job seekers on the spectrum with meaningful career-focused employment opportunities through partnerships with Fortune-500 type companies to enhance their workforces. But it doesn’t stop there.
Upon hiring, SourceAbled continues to provide training, accommodation, and other types of support necessary for incoming talent to thrive at work. “When it comes to hiring people with disability, there are mainly two components. One is, of course finding the talent, but before that we believe the culture to provide the training must exist,” Nish said.
When we don’t create that inclusive environment of awareness and knowledge, that’s when the misunderstanding takes place. And that’s where people with disabilities are losing jobs because they are not understood.
– Nish Parikh
SourceAbled isn’t the typical job board where resumes are reviewed and accepted and left to cyberspace as to whether an employer actually receives the talent’s credentials. Nish said the key to SourceAbled’s success is its awareness.
“If you are interested in hiring someone with disability or someone with neurodivergent talent, the very first step is to understand the environment in terms of awareness. When we don’t create that inclusive environment of awareness and knowledge, that’s when the misunderstanding takes place. And that’s where people with disabilities are losing jobs because they are not understood.”
To prevent this situation, SourceAbled acts as a kind of a liaison between talent and employers and works to overcome the challenges both sides face – from understanding the procurement, strategy sourcing, to HR regulations and onboarding. SourceAbled considers candidates and the jobs, then connects with employers to make sure the two will be a good fit and that the employer will understand the candidate.
“The beautiful thing is, once the person is hired everyone knows the expectations and the resources available – we do a little bit of hand-holding, a little bit of extra work, but I think it’s worth it if it’s changing those lives every day. And they are really looking for a meaningful job.”
ln the last year and half, during the pandemic, SourceAbled started working with global companies, where the number of employees was more than 50,000. One of those employer partners placed 64 people with disabilities in employment.
Rangam is also committed to providing employment opportunities for the women and men who have served the country.
SourceVets is a veterans’ career development and employment program for transitioning military service members to meaningful employment within the company’s employer network.
Being a diverse workforce solutions company, Rangam leads by example, hiring talent with autism, neurodivergence and disabilities to enhance its internal workforce and its client consultants. The company has a self-imposed goal of having 20% of its global workforce to be team members with disabilities, autism and/or neurodivergence. As of 2021, the company said it is halfway to that goal with 10% of workforce disclosing their disability, autism and/or neurodivergence.
SourceAbled’s services are free to job seekers and include job search assistance, resume and application assistance, interview coaching and on-boarding assistance. It also provides staff training and consultation services to ensure that candidates placed continue to thrive.
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