Advancing Neurodiversity in Maryland’s Workforce


Scroll down for information and applications. 

The Autism Hiring Program advances workplace neurodiversity and acceptance, connecting businesses to an untapped workforce of skilled Autistic adults and targeting jobseekers not supported by existing systems.

Created in 2021 by the Autism Society of Maryland, it addresses the needs of Autistic adults who have
high level, marketable skills but have struggled to secure and maintain desirable employment. On the business side, it connects employers to this competent, capable workforce, improving their bottom line while creating a more inclusive and neurodiverse work environment.

The results translate into meaningful career opportunities for skilled workers, access to talented employees for businesses, and a more inclusive workforce!

The need:
The need for this program and others like it is massive with 700,000+ Autistic individuals transitioning into adulthood in the U.S. in the next decade. However, the overall rate of unemployment for those with Autism remains higher than those with other disabilities. And 85% of college grads affected by Autism are unemployed or under employed.

Focus on the individual:
Our candidates are high school graduates with certifications, some college or college degrees. They engage in a 10-week program of group and individual sessions designed to build independence, social and essential workplace skills, assessing interests and encouraging self advocacy. We focus on the person with the goal of securing employment that fits candidates’ skills sets and interests. Ongoing peer support meetings are an essential piece of the program.
Supports for employers: The Autism Hiring Program engages employers to ensure a good fit for candidates AND add to their bottom line. We provide training for managers and staff on Autism, neurodiversity, ADA compliance, inclusivity, and natural supports, creating a sustainable system through which they can hire and retain great candidates. Modeled on hiring programs run by large corporations, it’s a great fit for those who could not or would not create a hiring program on their own.

Learn more:
Interested in joining us as a Candidate or an Employer? Contact Linda Hoyt at or call 410-290-3466.

CLICK to Support Our Work!

The Autism Hiring Program is an initiative of the Autism Society of Maryland .  Support and partnership have been provided by the Anne Arundel Workforce Development Corporation, Howard County Office of Workforce Development, WorkSource Montgomery, a 2023 Community Project Funding /Congressionally-Directed Spending Grant, Arbor Dog Foundation, Gula Tech Foundation, and many individual and corporate supporters.



MONTGOMERY COUNTY:  For residents of Montgomery County

Please check back in 2024 for new cohort dates as they are scheduled!

CLICK to download the Montgomery County Application.


MID-MARYLAND – Residents of Howard County, MD and the surrounding counties 

FALL 2023: September-December 2023 – UNDERWAY

WINTER 2024: January – March 2024 (Apply by January 15, 2024)

SPRING 2024: April-June 2024 (Apply by March 15, 2024)

CLICK to download the Mid-MD Session Application


ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY – NEW! For residents of Anne Arundel County 

FALL 2023: Late October-December 2023 (Deadline extended to 10.22.23!)

WINTER 2024: January-March 2024 (Apply by January 15, 2023)

SPRING 2024: April-June 2024 (Apply by March 15, 2024)

FALL 2024: September-November 2024 (Apply by August 15, 2024)

AHP Application 2023 sessions(AA)


CANDIDATES:  Interested in applying?!

The ideal candidate for this program is someone who comes to it with an open mind, is committed to their own success, and whose ultimate goal is to find and sustain meaningful employment. Other requirements:

  • Have an Autism diagnosis
  • High school degree/GED, certifications, some college and/or college degree(s)
  • Not currently receiving services from DDA, DORS, an agency, or employment specialist
  • Able to attend weekly peer group and 1:1 sessions independently with our staff virtually and in person
  • Responsive to requests from our staff to schedule meetings, coaching sessions, interviews, trainings

NOTE on RESIDENCY: Please check residency requirements for each program location.

EMPLOYERS:  Looking for great candidates?!

We are actively seeking employers interested in partnering with us to build their workforce!

  • Our candidates are currently working in the fields of Cyber/IT, Retail, Administration, Recreation, Engineering, Warehouse, Hospitality, Security, Manufacturing, among others.
  • We provide training on Neurodiversity in the Workplace for your Team, led by experienced professionals
  • Once a candidate is placed with your organization, we are available to provide support throughout the onboarding process and beyond!

For more information, email Linda Hoyt at 






  • Runner-Up for 2023 Gula Tech Foundation Summer 2023 Competitive Grant Program
  • Recipient of 2023 Community Project (CP) Funding / Congressional Directed Spending grant funds
  • 2022 Provider of the Year, Maryland Works
  • Finalist for the 2021 Innovation Fund Grant from The Workers Lab



Autism Hiring Program Receives $440,000 in Congressional Funding
On July 25, 2023, the Autism Society welcomed Senator Ben Cardin, Senator Chris Van Hollen, and Congressman John Sarbanes joined us for a discussion on Neurodiversity in Maryland’s Workplace and recognition of a $440,000 FY23 Community Project Award for the Autism Hiring Program! Funds provided will help to sustain and grow the project, including expansion to a new site in partnership with Towson University’s Hussman Center for Adults with Autism. We are grateful for the incredible support of these three elected officials, distinguished guests that included Sec. Carol Beatty from the Maryland Developmental Disabilities Administration and Howard County Council Member Cristiana Rigby, Towson University Interim President Melanie Perreault, PhD, as well as our partners, supporters and guests who joined us for the event.
The Autism Hiring Program was named a Runner-Up for a $50,000 grant from the Gula Tech Foundation at the 2023 RSA Conference in San Francisco on April 26, 2023. A total of $1 million was awarded to six nonprofits that aid the training and development of talented neurodivergent individuals to position them for and accelerate careers in cybersecurity and IT. Our thanks to Cyndi and Ron Gula and their team for recognizing our program in this way. Funds will be used to support AHP candidates interested in pursuing a career in cybersecurity and IT!  Congratulations to all the awardees. We are in amazing company and look forward to supporting one another in our work across the country!


The Autism Society of Maryland has been awarded a $100,000 Workforce Recovery Network 2.0 grant from WorkSource Montgomery to expand its Autism Hiring Program to Montgomery County, MD starting in 2023. Funding will support three cohorts of candidates, all Montgomery County residents, in the spring, summer and fall. Applications for the first Montgomery County cohort are being accepted through February 21, 2023. Additional sessions will continue for residents of Howard County and the surrounding areas in mid-Maryland. (February 2023)

The Autism Hiring Program was recognized as “Provider of the Year” by Maryland Works at its Annual Employment Awards Luncheon on November 22, 2022 at the BWI Marriott Hotel.  Thank you to Maryland Works for this honor and to our partner organizations, employers, candidates and donors for their ongoing support of the program!  Click to watch the Video!


AHP in the news on Fox-45 Baltimore!   “Local Organization Works to Connect Employers to Adults With Autism”





Congratulations to Pete Pappas & Sons Inc., Clarks Ace Hardware-Ellicott City, and Accessible Resources for Independence, three of our AUSOM Autism Hiring Program Partners, who were recognized on October 19, 2022  by the Howard County Commission on Disabilities. The commission honored employers who value diversity and provide equal opportunities for employees with disabilities during the Commission’s 2022 Employer Awards ceremony in Elkridge, MD. Clarks Hardware was recognized for its efforts to build an inclusive workforce. Pete Pappas and Sons received the Large For-Profit Award. ARI received the Small Non-Profit Award for leading by example as an employer. Congratulations to all of the winners! Click below for the complete list of recipients.

AHP Receives $75,000 Grant from Howard County!  The Autism Hiring Program has been awarded a $75,000 grant from the Howard County Government!  Thank you to County Executive Calvin Ball and his staff, Fran Trout from Howard County Office of Workforce Development, our incredible AHP team, Accessible Resources for Independence, a growing pipeline of employers, and, most importantly, our amazing candidates! Link to the announcement can be found at:


Thank you for supporting our first BIKE TO THE BEACH ride on July 29!  Over $7,500 raised for the Autism Hiring Program!


The Business Monthly (June 2022): Read about The Autism Hiring Program in June issue! The Autism Hiring Program (page 9)

Autism Hiring Program a Finalist for the 2021 Innovation Fund Grant from The Workers Lab!  The Autism Society of Maryland was honored to have been among the finalists for the 2021 Innovation Fund at The Workers Lab for our Autism Hiring Program! Out of 400 applicants nationwide, 12 were selected to compete for six $150,000 awards; six were selected.  While we were not among those selected this year, we were grateful for the opportunity to participate and salute all of the finalists!   About The Workers Lab


#EXPECTATIONSMATTER  –  CLICK to watch the video!







The Autism Hiring Program positively impacts our candidates and employers, but also our staff, partners and family members. Here’s what they are saying:

”This one step, which in some ways seems like a small step, is the one that will enable my son to make all his dreams come true and, for our family, we’re just so happy for him.” -Parent of Candidate

“I can’t think of any other program I’ve been prouder to be part of.”  -Staff Member

“COVID has had a disproportionately devastating impact on the lives of people with disabilities like autism. As we as a nation seek to “build back better,” the Autism Hiring Project and programs like it help ensure that people with disabilities are provided the unique supports they need to secure meaningful employment.”  –Katie Collins-Ihrke, MBA, MS, Executive Director, Accessible Resources for Independence

“It’s all about communicating expectations and giving everyone the opportunity to succeed.”  -William Lowe, Owner, Rathskeller, AHP Employer

“UMBC Training Centers has been a committed partner with AUSOM in the planning, launch and first year of operations of the Autism Hiring Project. We specifically provided career guidance and technical training services for participants of the program. We have been pleased to play such a role with this important project, which has generated positive outcomes for its first cohort of participants.”  -Brent Campbell, Head of Admissions for Workforce Training Programs, UMBC Training Centers

“Programs like the Autism Hiring Project must be carefully designed to provide customized supports for individuals with different assets, traits, and challenges. They can be difficult to launch, operate and fund, which is why the initial success experienced by the Autism Hiring Project has been so gratifying and encouraging.”  -Francine Trout, Director, Howard County Office of Workforce Development

“The discussions were fun. Kelly provided opportunities and perspectives that were very helpful.”  -Candidate

“I’m certainly optimistic. And I have someone I can email when I have concerns on the job. –Candidate

“We are thrilled to partner with the Autism Society of Maryland to expand their Autism Hiring Program for Montgomery County residents. In such a tight labor market where the number of jobs double the number of jobseekers, it’s critical that employers tap into untapped talent pipelines—and we know that with the proper support, skilled Autistic adults can meet the talent needs of many local and regional employer partners. We’re looking forward to a longstanding partnership with the Autism Society of Maryland to increase employment supports for Autistic adults.”  -Anthony Featherstone, Executive Director for WorkSource Montgomery.

“Hello, great news. Today, I interviewed for a warranty processor position at Re Michel in Glen Burnie and was offered the job. I start working with Re Michel on April 12 for a good salary. Thank you for the Howard County Autism Hiring program because it taught me how to write a resume and interview for the job. I look forward to telling how things are going on at Re Michel from time to time. “ -Candidate

I am the mother of a 30-year old son who participated in the Autism Hiring Program.  The Autism Hiring Program resulted in his achieving the type of employment that he has long desired and that will allow him to develop both professionally and personally.  He, I, and his father are very grateful that this program was available.