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auticon Canada and Lighthouse Labs Partner to Build Technology Skills and Experience of People with Autism across Canada

auticon Canada and Lighthouse Labs Partner to Build Technology Skills and Experience of People with Autism across Canada

Learning Lab program provides hands-on training simulating real-world technology work environments

TORONTO, Canada – December 10, 2020 – auticon Canada, an IT consulting firm employing highly skilled adults on the autism spectrum, today announced a partnership with Canadian tech education leader Lighthouse Labs, to deliver professional development programs giving people with autism hands-on experience in advanced technology including full-stack development and data science.

There have been numerous reports of the technology talent shortfall unfolding across Canada. IT World Canada predicts a shortfall of 185,000 roles. Additionally, IT staffing firm Randstad, lists full-stack development, quality assurance, data analytics and cyber-security among 2020’s top IT skills.

While many speculate that autistic technology workers have a natural gift for coding, quality assurance, and robotics, research indicates that autism exhibits softer skills that hold the cognitive benefits valued by employers.

Soft skills for people on the autism spectrum range from attention to detail, prolonged concentration, lack of bias, pattern identification, systematic analysis, and a direct communication style. Yet over 65% of Canadians on the autism spectrum between the ages of 20 and 65 are unemployed, many of whom have post-secondary education in STEM fields.

Recognizing one of the key barriers to entry to the job market people with autism face is related to practical job experience, auticon and Lighthouse Labs partnered to develop two six-week intensive Learning Lab programs reflecting skills in high demand: front-end web development and data science. Each Learning Lab included a cohort of 11 participants who were given projects simulating real-world work environments:

  • Front-End Learning Lab: Participants developed a single page “Interview Scheduler” building skills development in HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and React.
  • Data Science Learning Lab: Skills development in data wrangling, data visualization and machine learning where participants built a predictive model for the purpose of automating a loan eligibility process using customer data. 

This initial program had an 86% successful completion rate.

“In a competitive hiring environment, people on the autism spectrum represent a largely untapped segment of technology talent. However, they often face obstacles during a traditional hiring process that limits the ability to gain real-world work experience,” said
Garth Johnson, CEO, auticon Canada. “Partnering with Lighthouse Labs to combine the already impressive cognitive skills of people with autism with hands-on learning reflecting a workplace environment, will enable us to further deliver on the promise of the autism advantage for business.”

“The more we work to consider the skills necessary to succeed in data and software, the more it has become obvious that we are in need of alternative education paths for those with the talent but who have not been provided the same opportunities,” said Jeremy Shaki, CEO of Lighthouse Labs. “We are very excited to be using our rapid, personalized education approach in conjunction with auticon Canada’s substantial experience to help advance the number of autistic technology workers in the industry.”

About Lighthouse Labs

Lighthouse Labs was launched in 2013 with the goal of finding innovative ways to train the next generation of tech talent. In an age of technological disruption across every industry, our mission is to give Canadians the skills they need to find long-lasting careers in a digital workforce. Seven years later, we’ve delivered hands-on tech education to over 30,000 Canadians, equipping them with the relevant tools to thrive in the future of work. With the support of a brilliant team of instructors and mentors, we continue to empower students, launch careers, and contribute to the incredible growth of Canada’s tech industry.

About auticon Canada

With a high demand for data quality and flawless software development, auticon provides a neurodiverse and agile workforce to improve our clients’ IT projects. Our hybrid on-site and off-site teams embrace the cognitive benefits of autism to deliver increased productivity and innovation, improved team communication, and the accelerated development of cultures of inclusion through diversity and openness.

Learn more: www.auticon.ca