TL; DR: Daivergent, a public-benefit corporation, is committed to bridging the employment gap between the data management industry and skilled adults on the autism spectrum. The organization’s cloud-hosted platform provides candidates and their families with upskilling opportunities designed to improve job readiness. Ultimately, Daivergent aims to help companies fulfill their data needs at scale by tapping into the valuable and underrepresented skills of the neurodiverse community.
The CDC estimates that 5.4 million adults in the U.S. live with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Although they possess the knowledge and skills needed to excel in the workplace, the unemployment rate among college-educated adults in the autism community remains extraordinarily high (estimates range from 85% to 90%).
Daivergent is working to change that. Through its revolutionary cloud-hosted platform, the public-benefit corporation connects people on the autism spectrum with organizations seeking a high-quality workforce.
Much of Daivergent’s neurodiverse talent excel at highly complex tasks that demand attention to detail, such as data input and enrichment, quality assurance and data validation, and content moderation.
“There aren’t any robust pipelines between the autism space and the 21st-century economy,” said Byran Dai, Co-Founder and CEO at Daivergent. “Our software platform maximizes job readiness for individuals on the autism spectrum by delivering the right interventions to them and their families at the right time.”
The solution enables these individuals to enter the U.S. workforce at scale, whether inperson or remotely. At the same time, the platform provides job readiness and upskilling opportunities that help applicants stand out among the competition.
Daivergent recruits talent from the nation’s largest autism communities and neurodiverse educational institutions, merging high-potential candidates into a talent pool that businesses of any size may access.
The company’s platform, hosted in the cloud, enables promising individuals in the autism community to accomplish tasks remotely. The technology includes an interface through which individuals with autism can receive training, take assessments, and complete tasks.
“Companies are looking to gain a competitive advantage by tapping into new talent sources, and the autism community is looking for career exploration opportunities,” Byran said. “We’re trying to get them to meet in the middle.”
A Bridge Between the Autism Space and 21st-Century Economy
Daivergent was partially inspired by Dai’s younger brother, Brandon, who is on the autism spectrum. (The unconventional spelling of the company’s name is also a nod to the family).
Dai discovered early on that his brother and others on the spectrum are ideal candidates for complex tasks requiring meticulous attention to detail. So he built a cloud-hosted platform that creates opportunities to gain job experience, develop professional skills, and network with a like-minded community.
“Our platform builds out personalized lifelong plans for young adults, tapping into our curated intervention library of both proprietary and third-party online content,” Byran said. “In terms of upskilling, we focus on three critical areas: vocational, social, and life skills.”
In doing so, Daivergent is fostering an upskilled pool of talent that companies can turn to when recruiting and hiring both remote and in-person staff.
“Daivergent serves as a bridge. We recognize that companies face challenges understanding the profiles of candidates, their experience, and whether they have had the training to be successful in a corporate environment,” Byran said. “And for the candidates, it’s about exploring a new world of virtual and remote jobs that they may not have been exposed to as part of their vocational training.”
Remote workforces, according to Byran, are fast-growing, accessible, and more resilient — especially in comparison with the service-industry jobs typically delegated to neurodiverse candidates.
“We want to give that career exploration and training so that these communities can get their feet wet in a world they probably have never considered,” he said.
An Initial Focus on Data and Artificial Intelligence-Based Careers
It’s no secret that the U.S. IT industry is experiencing a skilled labor crisis. According to researchers, this lack of computer skills may result in millions of unfulfilled jobs, costing the U.S. to miss out on $162 billion in yearly revenue.
Daivergent is working to reduce the tech talent gap by helping companies tap into new talent sources— and therefore gain a competitive advantage.
“We’re seeing incredible competition for great talent and the prioritization of employee retention,” Byran said. “And it just so happens that in a post-COVID world, hybrid or remote workforces are becoming normalized.”
By encouraging remote and neurodiverse hiring, Daivergent is unlocking a world of opportunities for employers.
“They are getting access to potential lifelong employees — employees who are strong, who demonstrate high loyalty,” Byran said. “Of course, there’s also the corporate social responsibility (CSR) implications. But we think the placement with a well-matched, sustainable candidate is a significant benefit.”
Byran explained that some individuals on the autism spectrum prefer process- and detail-oriented tasks, such as data labeling. But those specialties are not universal, and he cautioned against painting individuals with too broad of a brush.
“When you meet one person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism,” he said. “We planted our flag first in artificial intelligence and data labeling because attention to detail is a great attribute for companies hiring talent for data-labeling work.”
But Daivergent also serves as a springboard for folks on the spectrum who are incredibly creative and interested in non-STEM fields.
“There may be somebody who is helping with a CRM, a sales support associate working within Salesforce, or someone doing data entry work on behalf of an ecommerce client,” he said. “It’s a matter of trying to identify where those splinter skills are.”
Forming Connections with the Neurodiverse Community
Daivergent recruits talent through partnership programs and self-referrals.
“We have 200-plus community partnerships,” Byran said. “We work with local, state, and national disability service providers, schools and universities, state vocational rehab agencies, and special education districts,” Byran said. “They provide a pipeline to us for candidates who may be two, five, or even 10 steps from the finish line and not being taken seriously by employers.”
The organization brings in self-referrals through social media outreach, content marketing, and involvement with various communities for the neurodiverse. “We also host a social community that serves as a safe zone for playing games online, and chatting with other folks who get it,” he said.
The Daivergent team also focuses its marketing efforts on getting the word out to businesses.
“Our goal is to serve as awareness generators,” Byran said. “We’re attending conferences, talking directly with companies in the tech industry and startup ecosystem. We have a presence on LinkedIn, we have our own blog, and we also talk to companies through more informal routes via our connections and networks.”
Helping Companies Leverage Neurodiverse Skills
Moving forward, Daivergent will continue to focus on increasing exposure to companies that are having trouble locating talent and are unaware of the benefits of a neurodiverse staff.
“Over the next three to five years we expect to place a bigger emphasis on helping companies tap into this talent pool,” Byran said. “We also want to help families think about successful futures for their children.”
Through a cloud-hosted platform like Daivergent, families from across the nation will have opportunities to reap benefits outside of their immediate communities.
“Tapping into a virtual service method, like Daivergent, gives you the same resources and opportunities that you might have if you live next to the world’s greatest school,” he said.
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