SAP to Hire Autistic Staff in Foundation’s First Global Alliance

SAP AG, the biggest business-management software maker, will start employing more people with autism as software testers, programmers and in data management.

SAP is forming an alliance with Specialisterne, a foundation to promote employment for autistic people in technology industries, and will find jobs for those with the disorder as it adds programs around the world, the Walldorf, Germany-based company said in a statement yesterday.

``SAP sees a potential competitive advantage to leveraging the unique talents of people with autism, while also helping them to secure meaningful employment,’’ the company said.

Autism interferes with brain development and is linked to poor social interaction and communication skills as well as repeated body movements, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. The disorder has no known cause or cure and about 1 in 88 children in the U.S. are diagnosed with an autism-related condition.

A pilot program involved six software testers in India, and SAP is now hiring five autistic people in Ireland. SAP said it will expand the project to the U.S., Canada and Germany this year and that this is the foundation’s first global agreement with a company.

Specialisterne, originally founded in Denmark, is owned by the Specialist People Foundation, a non-profit organization.

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