CA Technologies Enables Autistic Students to ‘Boldly Go Where No Man Has Gone Before’

My second favorite part about taking our Autism Advantage data analyst class to CA Technologies yesterday was the resume review. However, my absolute favorite part was the Klingons.

This is the second time that CA Technologies has partnered in teaching a class in one of our six-week cohorts. For the better part of the day, our students spent time at CA’s offices in Santa Clara learning about the rapidly changing tech workplace landscape from a human resources perspective.

“It used to be that you could stick an engineer alone in front of a computer for 10 hours a day for years and they would excel,” said Sinead Borgersen, Senior Principal People Partner at CA while leading our students in a session. “That’s not the case anymore. The emphasis on agile software development and increased customer expectations now requires collaboration.”

Star Trek 4

We enjoy working with Borgersen because of her industry knowledge and incredible humor (“I never expected to change my name when I got married, but – as a Star Trek fan – when I met my husband I suddenly realized that I get to be a Borg if I did!” she told our class, referencing the fictional alien group as well as the first part of her last name.). However, what we love about Borgersen is that she interacts and instructs our students as the adults that they are. For many autistic adults, this treatment is not always the case.

Over several hours, Borgersen and CA Technologies shared tips on navigating the hiring process in Silicon Valley – including understanding how positions are filled, how to match skills to fill talent gaps, how pressures on company recruiters impact reviews of an applicant’s resume, what the emerging new practices of hiring managers in the interview process now are, and how networking can be leveraged effectively (“I expect all of you to connect with me on LinkedIn immediately after this class,” Bogersen told our visiting group).

Star Trek 3.jpg

One of the most enjoyable parts was with Borgersen presented a fictionally altered version of her own resume so that she could teach our Autism Advantage students how to critically examine it as hiring manager. As students began to point out subtle red flags  in her resume that would keep them from hiring Borgersen, she used those moments to pivot our class to consider how they could think like a hiring manager as they worked on their own resumes as applicants in order to find success.

Star Trek 5

After peaking the interest of the class, CA Technologies Senior Principal People Partner Sinead Borgesen brought our Autism Advantage participants up to her office to check out her ‘Star Trek’ memorabilia which she has collected (with some great bonus items from ‘Lord of the Rings’ and various comic universes).

Learning how to think like a hiring manager in order succeed as an applicant is an innovative use of user experience most never consider. That’s a valuable lesson – and that may have been the highlight of the day had Borgesen not mentioned her substantial Star Trek collection. Clearly peaking the interest of the group, Borgeson invited the class up to her office at the end of the day to view and discuss her collection of Star Trek memorabilia. It might seem corny to say that our Autism Advantage class is “boldly going where no man has gone before” but, in reality, that is true. It’s people like Sinead Borgersen and the people at CA Technologies who are helping move our participants and their careers light speed ahead.

worf

We could certainly appreciate CA Technologies’ promotion of a robust and healthy Worf/Life balance.


bikeride1

Hey! Our friend Kenneth is riding his bike this July for 100 miles from Washington, DC to the Atlantic Ocean. He decided to do this on his own to raise awareness and funds to train autistic adults through Autism Advantage. We think that’s awesome and hope you do to. You can support his effort by clicking here. Check it out!

Giving Them HOPE

You may have seen the news this week of three teenagers arrested for selling water along the National Mall in Washington, DC. It shocked locals who had noted that the entrepreneurial approach of the teens should be encouraged, not punished. It also motivated one man to do something about it. Within an hour of the news of the arrest, Ray Bell, founder of the HOPE Project was on social media searching for the three. Within the week, Bell had recruited them into a program to train young people from disadvantaged communities in the skills needed to land well-paying IT jobs.

Thanks to Accenture, members of our Autism Advantage staff spent last Monday with Bell in the Anacostia neighborhood of DC studying the best practices of the HOPE Project. There were many things we were impressed with. The one thing that stuck with us the most is how Bell has built a sense of community around the program rather than simply an in-and-out training model. The excellence of the program has swarmed what Bell calls “the Harvard of the Hood” with support from the local community. Alumni actively engage new students long after their own graduation (“Students may graduate, but they never finish,” Bell told our team). The HOPE Project is one of the many successful programs we are adopting best practices from as we scale Autism Advantage. Young people in Washington are fortunate to work with a visionary like Ray Bell. So are we.


bikeride1

Hey! Our friend Kenneth is riding his bike this July for 100 miles from Washington, DC to the Atlantic Ocean. He decided to do this on his own to raise awareness and funds to train autistic adults through Autism Advantage. We think that’s awesome and hope you do to. You can support his effort by clicking here. Check it out!