Students with autism who want to study Computer and Information Science or Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Delaware will be eligible for the new Spectrum Scholars program.
The program is supported by a 10-year grant from JPMorgan Chase, which has a long-standing relationship with the University of Delaware.
“The Spectrum Scholars program is an exciting opportunity for students with autism and the entire University of Delaware, where we are committed to the core values of diversity and inclusion,” stated UD President Dennis Assanis. “Our whole community will be enriched by these talented students with autism, and we want to build a program that will empower them to develop their skills and enjoy rewarding careers.”
“We’ve had great success employing skilled individuals with autism,” said
James Mahoney, executive director of JPMorgan Chase’s Autism at Work
program. “The Spectrum Scholars program will ensure that more young people with autism have more opportunities to lead successful professional careers—not just here at JPMorgan Chase but throughout the workforce. This innovative collaboration between higher education and industry will enable students with autism to be more self-sufficient, collaborative and confident in their work.”
The Spectrum Scholars collaboration between the University of Delaware and JPMorgan Chase will be administered by the university’s Center for Disabilities Studies, Delaware’s federally-designated university center for excellence in developmental disabilities. “The supports and opportunities we will provide should help level the playing field,” said Brian Freedman, Spectrum Scholars’ director and the Center’s associate director. “For all their impressive abilities, students on the autism spectrum often struggle in college and in making the transition to work. The university’s Spectrum Scholars will learn how to enhance their communication skills, manage daily stressors and become effective self-advocates.”
The program will also train and educate university staff, faculty and area companies on how they can better support people with autism. “The more people on campus and in business embrace students with autism, the more the community will gain from their contributions,” said Freedman.