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UD launches career development program for students with Autism

Delaware Public Media

The new Spectrum Scholars program will begin with five freshmen at the University of Delaware next fall.


Students with Autism entering the Computer & Information Sciences or Electrical & Computer Engineering departments will be eligible to apply. The program will provide communication and independent-living coaching, as well as career development.

“From conducting workshops on resume development, facilitating job site visits to JPMorgan Chase as well as other employers out in the community, and building and supporting internships,” said Associate Director of UD’s Center for Disabilities Studies Brian Freedman, who will oversee the program.

It’s partnership between the University and JPMorgan Chase, which Freedman says is funding several staff positions at UD for the program.

It’ll also fund Autism-centric training for existing faculty and staff members throughout the University, and will seek to improve resources for students with Autism outside of the program’s two home departments.

“We’ll also be providing training under this grant to staff at workplace environments including JPMorgan Chase, so that we can work with area businesses to help create an environment that embraces this idea of neurodiversity,” he said.

In an op-ed, Director of the Autism at Work program at JPMorgan Chase James Mahoney wrote about the benefits to productivity of having neurodiversity in the workplace.

The Spectrum Scholars program has begun recruiting applicants, and will begin with its first batch of five scholars next fall. Freedman says the program will likely serve roughly thirty students total when at full capacity.

Freedman says staff will be collecting data on the program’s impacts on student success as well as awareness at the University and area workplaces.


Sophia Schmidt is a Delaware native. She comes to Delaware Public Media from NPR’s Weekend Edition in Washington, DC, where she produced arts, politics, science and culture interviews. She previously wrote about education and environment for The Berkshire Eagle in Pittsfield, MA. She graduated from Williams College, where she studied environmental policy and biology, and covered environmental events and local renewable energy for the college paper.
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