The Center for Neurodiversity & Employment Innovation

The Center for Neurodiversity & Employment Innovation

Unemployment for neurodivergent adults runs at least as high as 30-40% which is three times the rate for people with disability, and eight times the rate for people without disability. Exact figures are unknown because there are few resources that track the specifics of unemployment among a wide range of neurodiversity, not just autism but also ADHD, dyspraxia, dyscalculia, dysgraphia and many other neurological differences. Unfortunately, in many cases the research needed for developing these statistics does not exist yet. However, even at the most conservative of estimates, millions of neurodivergent adults are struggling to find meaningful employment that allows them to live independent, fulfilling lives.

UConn’s Center for Neurodiversity and Employment Innovation seeks to lead. The center will develop and share the critical innovations necessary to improve employment outcomes for neurodivergent adults and the companies that employ them.

Defining Neurodiversity

Neurodiversity refers to the concept that differences in brain functioning within the human population are normal, and that brain functioning that is not “neurotypical” should not be stigmatized or excluded. People with autism, ADHD, dyslexia, dyspraxia and other neurological differences are collectively referred to as neurodivergent individuals.

The Employment Challenge

Neurodivergent adults who are eager to work professionally are often left out of the workforce or forced into lower skill jobs for a variety of reasons - non-inclusive hiring and retention practices, lack of employer education and training, absence of support ecosystems on the job, and skill differences or needs that often do not align with standard business operations all contribute to the problem.

Employers Tapping New Talent

Organizations have begun recognizing the value of hiring neurodivergent individuals. Their ability to approach problems differently and bring innovative solutions and ideas to the table creates real value. Moreover, increased levels of morale for all employees within an organization is often a result of greater levels of diversity and inclusivity. Lower turnover, higher productivity and better overall employee engagement create a compelling ROI story for companies pursuing a neurodiverse workforce.

Get Involved

Neurodiversity Students & Alumni


Click this link to join the Neuro-Inclusive Candidate Network!

What does "neurodiversity" mean, actually?

Neurodiversity commonly refers to (but is not limited to) autism, ADHD, dyspraxia, dyslexia, dysgraphia, OCD, dyscalculia, and Tourette's. Neurodivergent (ND) minds perceive, communicate, and behave differently than so-called "neurotypical" brains.

How is my neurodiversity related to employment?

Neurodivergent people bring unique ways of thinking to the world. Companies actively seek those different perspectives in employees, and are focused on creating more neurodiverse workplaces that are supportive of your differences!

What is the Neuro-Inclusive Candidate Network (NCN)?

The NCN connects ND students and recent alumni with employers who understand and value their differences. The NCN is an initiative of the University Council for Neurodiversity Employment - a coalition of over 60 schools led by UConn.

How does the NCN work?

  1. Click this link to join
  2. Complete your Candidate Profile 
  3. Receive neurodiversity-related employment opportunities and information
  4. Get access to the NCN career resources website 


How do I know if the NCN is right for me?

The NCN is right for you if you are a current or recent college-level student ( who identifies as neurodiverse and would like to join a community of peers who get connected to neurodiversity-related employment opportunities.


Employers Seeking Neurodivergent Talent:

Nationwide Talent Pipeline of Neurodivergent College Students:
UConn’s Center for Neurodiversity and Employment Innovation is excited to announce the University Council for Neurodiversity Employment. The University Council is a collaboration of 65+ colleges and universities working collectively and proactively to build a robust nationwide talent pipeline of neurodivergent (ND) college students. The council produces ND college graduates who are better prepared for employment and more accessible to employers in need of their talents, by utilizing a standardized process for inclusive recruiting across member schools.

Neurodiversity Training and Education:
Organizations are eager to learn what they can do to create more inclusive workplaces for employees with autism, ADHD, and other cognitive differences. But operationalizing that “neuro-inclusive” concept proves difficult.  What are we talking about when we say “neurodiversity” and how does it manifest in the day-to-day activities of an organization?  And what should employees do differently to contribute to that more inclusive workplace?

CNDEI delivers innovative employer education that takes companies through building their neurodiversity employment pilot initiative step-by step.  It provides executives, managers, teams and HR talent professionals with the critical neurodiversity training and tools to make those initiatives succeed.   For more information on how to get started, or to register for an upcoming group Consulting Session, inquire below.

Inquire Here

Universities and Colleges:

UConn’s Center for Neurodiversity and Employment Innovation is excited to announce the University Council for Neurodiversity Employment founded in partnership with KPMG. The University Council’s goal is to work collectively to build a nationwide talent pipeline of ND college students who are better prepared for employment and more accessible to employers seeking their talent, and which utilizes a standardized process for inclusive recruiting across member schools. Please inquire below about joining the University Council.

Get Involved

Opportunities and Events

To register for all Neurodiversity hiring opportunities contact:

Signature and Founding Partner

Founding Partners

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Organization of the Center

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Prototype Lab

The Prototype Lab is where we will identify, further develop, and test different approaches for solving the employment challenge. This process will allow us to understand the impacts of the most promising approaches and begin to implement them across all levels of the problem.

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Knowledge Hub

The Knowledge Hub seeks to be the central location for what is already known and developed around the topic of neurodiversity and employment. Here information from the prototype lab activities will be collected, organized, and kept up to date so that it can be made available to all interested parties.

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Innovation Fund

The Innovation Fund will focus on finding, funding, and amplifying new solutions created outside of the center. We will identify individuals, companies and organizations that are developing new ideas, and provide seed funding to help bring those ideas to market.

Cornerstone Programs

The Center is currently pursuing the development of programs that will help the neurodivergent college student population prepare for and secure post-graduation employment, as well as provide partner employers access to critical knowledge, support, and instruction in how to increase a neurodiverse workforce at their organization.

In the News

For more information about the Center for Neurodiversity and Employment Innovation at UConn, contact:

Judy Reilly

Director, Center for Neurodiversity and Employment Innovation