To Be Competitive, Businesses Must Expand DEI Efforts to Include Neurodivergence
COMMENTARY

June 17, 2022by Delano Wilson, Owner and CEO, M*A*C*S* LLC
To Be Competitive, Businesses Must Expand DEI Efforts to Include Neurodivergence
Prospective employers and job seekers interact during a job fair in the West Hollywood section of Los Angeles, California. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

As our economy starts to bounce back from the pandemic, employers are struggling to hire enough people to meet demand.

Meanwhile, in the United States it is estimated that 82% of people on the autism spectrum are unemployed, compared with 4.2% of the overall population. This number would likely be higher if you include all people who are neurodivergent, or people who see, understand and think about the world in different ways.

Leaving so much talent on the table is not only bad for business, but it limits America’s competitiveness globally.

Over 30% of people in the United States are considered neurodivergent, including people with ADD/ADHD, dyscalculia, autism, dyslexia and other conditions.


While no two people who are neurodivergent are the same, studies have shown that neurodivergence “can bestow special skills in pattern recognition, memory or mathematics,” that make them strong candidates for many roles, according to the Harvard Business Review.

And yet, people who are neurodivergent rarely make it through employers’ applicant screening processes because they are built around a very specific way of thinking and engaging others.


Studies show that a diverse workforce fosters productivity, creativity and makes companies more competitive. Many companies have integrated diversity, equity and inclusion frameworks into their recruitment, hiring and company culture over the last decade, but neurodivergent individuals are often left out of these programs. They continue to be unemployed and/or underemployed.

As a business leader and the father of three children, all of whom are neurodivergent, I know what kinds of obstacles neurodiverse people encounter.

My twin boys refused to let their dyslexia stop them from excellence. They are currently studying Civil Engineering at Louisiana Tech University. My daughter has overcome ADD and found success in her own right, recently graduating from Louisiana State University with a degree in Landscape Architecture.

People who are neurodivergent may require different styles of management and different tools in order to perform their duties, but they are critical thinkers, supportive employees and can serve as a critical resource to employers.


In our current conversations about diversity, equity and inclusion, we must not leave out those of us who are neurodivergent.


Delano Wilson is the owner and CEO of M*A*C*S* LLC, a communications firm that specializes in social, economic and political neurodiversity business strategies. Mr. Wilson’s commitment to civic-minded duties and advocacy includes serving on numerous boards and as a charter member of Magnolia School of Excellence in Shreveport, Louisiana. Mr. Wilson has been recognized as the Small Business of the Year and 40 Under 40 Young Professional of the Year honoree by the Shreveport Chamber of Commerce. He has been featured in The Forum’s “Top 10 Faces to Watch,” the Shreveport Times “CEO at a Glance,” and KTAL 6 and KTBS 3 news’ “Profile of Successful African Americans.” You can watch a KSAL12 TV interview with Mr. Wilson’s family here.

A+
a-

In The News

Health

Voting

Opinions

Be All You Can Be … Except for LGBTQ+

The views expressed in the article are Mr. Fitzgerald’s and do not reflect the opinions or beliefs of his employer... Read More

The views expressed in the article are Mr. Fitzgerald’s and do not reflect the opinions or beliefs of his employer or affiliates. "Be All You Can Be" was the recruiting slogan of the U.S. Army for over 20 years. Growing up in Tennessee, I can still vividly recall Army... Read More

How Technology Can Help Address Student Loan Debt

As the Biden administration debates how to structure broad-sweeping student loan relief, many are pointing to the rising cost of... Read More

As the Biden administration debates how to structure broad-sweeping student loan relief, many are pointing to the rising cost of higher education as the main culprit for the student debt crisis. According to U.S. News and World Report, in 2002 the average yearly tuition at an... Read More

The Man From Mississippi Who Is Meeting the Moment

On Monday, June 9, Congressman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss.,, Chair of the Select Committee to Investigate the Jan. 6 Attack on... Read More

On Monday, June 9, Congressman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss.,, Chair of the Select Committee to Investigate the Jan. 6 Attack on the United States Capitol, introduced himself to the American people in simple and stark terms that underlined not only the critical nature of this committee and... Read More

America’s Health Care Supply Chain Is on Life Support

The world is now seeing its supply chain limits put to the test with multiple struggles happening at once: China’s... Read More

The world is now seeing its supply chain limits put to the test with multiple struggles happening at once: China’s COVID-19 lockdowns, Russia’s war against Ukraine, the ongoing pandemic’s impacts on labor, and unwanted policies like ending the North American Free Trade Agreement. In my work... Read More

To Be Competitive, Businesses Must Expand DEI Efforts to Include Neurodivergence

As our economy starts to bounce back from the pandemic, employers are struggling to hire enough people to meet demand.... Read More

As our economy starts to bounce back from the pandemic, employers are struggling to hire enough people to meet demand. Meanwhile, in the United States it is estimated that 82% of people on the autism spectrum are unemployed, compared with 4.2% of the overall population. This... Read More

June 14, 2022
by Steve Pociask
Under Risk Rating 2.0, High-Income Communities Finally Pay Their Fair Share

Low-income neighborhoods face long roads to recovery as they are often disproportionately affected by natural disasters like hurricanes and flooding.... Read More

Low-income neighborhoods face long roads to recovery as they are often disproportionately affected by natural disasters like hurricanes and flooding. Yet, instead of paying an equitable amount for the coverage they need, they continue to subsidize flood insurance for affluent, coastal communities. However, implementing a new... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top