Highly Functional Autistic young people employment plan and performance computing

Summary: 

This is a plan to create in a very short term quality employment for Highly Functioning Autistic (HFA) young people, leveraging my knowledge as Product Manager in High Throughput Computing at Open Science Grid and Center for High Throughput Computing. It shows science can have the most unexpected benefits

This  article is on my mind for over a week, day and night while asleep and while awake The idea is very clear, but, how do I put it best in words to reach every reader and make her a supporter?

There is a newer blog entry, that complements the description of the plan
The New Dandelion: a plan for highly functional autistic employment 

Why HFA employment?

There are three million people in US who are autistic. This is 1% of the population. The people with disability number is much larger, in excess of fifty millions.

We incorporated the deaf mute in US productive society  starting from 1885. This is the stage we are now with HFA. We discovered they can be productive, in many cases, more productive than mainstream employees like me.


Who supports HFA employment?

Absolutely everybody who is a mensch. Just read at any time Autism Speaks. The lobby for HFA employment has the intelligence, know-how and creativity and includes business leaders, movie stars, academia and top politicians. But there is no plan of action.  

What about the Federal Government?

Senator Tom Harkin
Senator Tom Harkin team has published 3 days ago, on September 2013 the report High Expectations: Transforming the American Workforce as the ADA Generation Comes of Age. Harkin recommended four steps to increase employment opportunities:
1. Increase support for high school students as they transition into the workforce
The age when school districts are required to start transition planning should be lowered from 16 to 14, and state vocational rehabilitation agencies should be required to allocate 15 percent of their budgets to transition planning, Harkin said. In addition, he urged the creation of more employment and internship opportunities during school years. 
2. Improve the transition of the ADA Generation into postsecondary education and the job market
Young adults should be better matched with appropriate postsecondary opportunities, whether certificate programs, career and technical training opportunities, community colleges, or two- and four-year degree programs.
3. Eliminate requirements in disability benefit programs that discourage young people with disabilities from working
The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) programs need to be modernized by eliminating the requirement that young adults with disabilities cannot and will not be able to work in order to receive benefits. "This requirement creates disincentives for young people with disabilities who are compelled to choose between forgoing benefits and launching a career, or forgoing work in order to receive benefits and attend to their daily support and healthcare needs," Harkin said. 
4. Leverage employer demand, correct misconceptions about employing people with disabilities, build strong pipelines from school to the competitive workforce, and establish supportive workplaces
"At the same time the business community is looking for skilled employees, we are graduating members of the ADA Generation who have had more access to and more success in education than any previous generation," 
 This is a lucid document, high level. But how can we implement, practically, the recommendation from this study?

Private organizations for  HFA employment

I described them in this article:  Specialisterne is well known,. They require one million dollars to educate and place fifty HFAs in jobs in a year. They claim they want to reach a goal 100,000 Autism Spectrum Disorder employees in US alone. A simple calculation shows they will need two billion dollars in donations (about 50% of the special education budget of California) and it will take between one hundred years to two hundred years to reach this goal. Simply its too expensive and doesn't scale

High Throughput Computing (HTC), User Experience (UX) and the  HFA employment

At the beginning one does not see the connection. Working as a Product Manager consultant for Open Science Grid , Bosco Job submission scheduler and HTC  made me click. We can have - using the principles of these technologies - a much more efficient, fast and natural way to engage the HFA population in productive employment.
High-throughput computing (HTC) is a computer science term to describe the use of many computing resources over long periods of time to accomplish a computational task.
We can reword perhaps like this

Using student tutors for HFA in colleges and universities we can create medium term a network of professionals that will act as advocates and mentors, to change the social fabric of Corporate America. Instead of companies like  Specialisterne placing fifty HFA with 1 million dollars, we can place exponentially tens of thousands of HFA without any additional cost. The salaries and bonuses of the professionals  who are able to make productive a new breed of employees pay for the system. These professionals are the former students who worked as tutors for HFA colleagues

If employing an HFA is our mission (we call this a job in HTC), then any tutor who gets a position in good organization becomes a resource, in this case a processing node. 

According to the National Center for Education Statistics  in 2009-2010 there were over 11,000 degree granting colleges, 4-year colleges, 2-year colleges and non-degree granting post secondary schools.

If we can have, for illustration sake, 10 tutors per college, we have a system of 110,000 processing nodes to help HFA to graduate and apply to jobs.

But most important, we created a network for HFA to find and apply for jobs. I wish we could incorporate the entire spectrum of HFA, but this is not possible day one.   We are not even able to define what a High Functional Autistic  is, in context to the ability to be accepted in higher paid , better quality jobs. But with 110,000 HFA students and tutor pairs, we can perform some Big Data research

A Story-driven Data Analysis as the name says, we build a story first, For example we can follow step by step the story of an HFA from the moment of intake to after a year or two of being  employed. We analyze data in this context, and we don't just crunch numbers expecting the data to speak to us.

This is just one possibility.

The Experiment

David, my son, enrolled at Sierra College in Rocklin, California  Fall semester in 2012 in Mechatronics. He has an ability to build Legos from drawings. He failed every single class test. But he had as a professor an extraordinary man; Steven Gillette.
Prof. Steven Gillette
He wrote:
David clearly has intellectual and social abilities that lend themselves to academic and to employment opportunities. He displayed a strong desire to work independently, particularly with the programming. He was able to work with other students, and seemed to enjoy his interactions with them. I believe that David can succeed in academic and technology endeavors, with sufficient levels of support. Academically, that support must provide him with focus on timely submittal of labs and quizzes. I found I had to directly request his lab reports and quizzes. Without direct oversight he did not submit the assignments required by the class"
Alta California made a total exception and offered funding for a tutor student for David. Roman Sitaruk, an outstanding young men and good student, became David tutor. David passed the Spring class grades up to 80%

Now in Fall 2013, David has two tutors students: Corbin Boyle and Scott Boughton.

The importance of students as tutors 

Tutor students are in the same age group, most time friendship bonds are created and will become the most important assets for an HFA certificate holder seeking employment. We need to pay for tutor salaries as students. They are distributed in any Community College and University throughout the nation. 

They are the one who bring the class User Experience to a level HFA, will comprehend. 

As I write this article, we have perhaps hundreds of thousands of excellent students, who will be delighted to tutor HFA and be paid for it, although there is a desire to do good that overrides other motivations. Right now they are unused, How can we use this potential as soon as possible.



The New Dandelion Project

The more college and universities we can engage, the better. In Open Science Grid, we call the organization that provide resources, the "VO", virtual organizations. Every college and university is a potential VO, Inside of them have tens of thousands of unused resources, the potential tutors

We need to create a non profit organization which will :
  1. Prepare programs ready to implement in each University or College
  2. Raise funds to start the process, step 1 is to pay for student tutors
  3. Lobby for network to make corporations hire on a priority basis each graduate who was an HFA tutor at school
Once hired, the HFA new employee still needs a mentor. They need someone to tell them what to do and to reward their efforts in ways they understand. Very few HFA will become 100% autonomous. Their bosses must act as mentors in the workplace

Peter Drucker: "We grow by feeding the opportunities and starving the problems"
We can make senator Harkin recommendations a reality

Summarizing in a few slides


A project promoted by Ahrono Associates


Tweet October 25, 2012 : People like California - including our billionaires - because we are all Asperger, or indistinguishable from them 

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