Supervisors Approve County Workforce Recruitment Effort for Neurodiverse Community
County supervisors Tuesday unanimously approved a plan to recruit “neurodivergent” residents, including those on the autism spectrum, to the county workforce.
The proposal, by Supervisors Nathan Fletcher and Terra Lawson-Remer, also calls on county departments to gain the needed skills to interview and train neurodivergent people.
The Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines neurodiversity as “the concept that differences in brain functioning within the human population are normal, and that brain functioning that is not neurotypical should not be stigmatized.”
According to a statement released by Lawson-Remer and Fletcher, autism affects one in 44 Americans and one in 26 California residents, “including tens of thousands of people in San Diego County.”
Current data suggests that 75% of autistic adults are unemployed or under-employed, “and a delayed launch into the workforce for autistic young adults can have lasting negative impacts throughout an individual’s lifetime,” the statement said.
After the vote, Fletcher said the county “has taken another important step to support neurodivergent and autistic people in San Diego County by building on the success of Jay’s Program.”
In 2019, Fletcher introduced Jay’s Program, which provides people with intellectual and developmental disabilities with part-time, six-month paid internships county departments.