asperIT is a Polish social enterprise that seeks to empower and foster inclusion for people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Through its non-profit part, the asperIT Foundation, asperIT provides free technical education, psychological support, and soft-skills training to people diagnosed with ASD, preparing them to find employment in the IT sector. The Foundation is primarily financed through fees collected via the initiative’s software testing company, asperIT.com. In addition to financing the Foundation’s activities, asperIT.com also provides a pathway for program graduates to receive employment and offers training to companies on how to foster neurodiversity within their organizations. asperIT also received impact investment from NESsT, an impact investing firm which supports enterprises that create quality jobs for underserved communities, and grant funding from the National Freedom Institute - Centre for Civil Society Development, a Polish government institution responsible for supporting civil society, public benefit activities, and volunteering. In addition to a small staff, asperIT also relies on the support of volunteers who help fulfill social media, project coordination, and other organizational functions.
Theory of Change
Empowering neurodivergent people through skills development and employment opportunities builds their agency and promotes inclusion and equality.
asperIT’s training programs are led by staff with experience working with people with ASD. At the core of asperIT’s program is the technical training; students learn programming in Python, cybersecurity, data analytics, Scrum, Power BI, and Lego Spike Prime. asperIT also focuses on developing participants’ communication and social skills within the context of a professional workplace setting; students are taught how to communicate their needs and limitations with work colleagues, as well as how to navigate common workplace situations. asperIT.com provides direct services to outside businesses and organizations. Through asperIT.com, companies can book system tests, functional tests, acceptance tests, regression tests, integration tests, and digital accessibility tests. Companies can also book consultations for how to build neurodiversity within their organizations. These consultative services can include education about ASD, an analysis of an organization’s readiness for neurodiversity, strategies for recruiting people with ASD, as well as direct tutoring and coaching for employees on the spectrum.
To date, asperIT has trained over 80 people, many of whom went on to find employment with asperIT’s help. Graduates of asperIT’s training program report having more self confidence, feeling more comfortable in workplace settings, and being more satisfied with their professional and personal progression. asperIT has delivered trainings for domestic and international companies, including Procter & Gamble. In 2017, asperIT was honored by the Polish Ministry of Development as one of the eight most innovative projects in the country.