Goldman Sachs has launched a new paid internship program for individuals on the autism spectrum as the firm looks to increase diversity in its job hires.
The eight-week paid internship at the investment bank is aimed at individuals who identify as neurodiverse, which includes those with autism, dyslexia, ADHD, developmental disorders and other mental health conditions.
Interns will get 'on-the-desk' function experience along with mentoring opportunities and training at the American multinational investment bank and financial services company's New York, New Jersey and Salt Lake City offices.
We [have been] missing out on an opportunity to tap really highly skilled and highly intelligent individuals for the bank"
The program is designed to lead to a full-time job at the firm, which said that it expects to place participants in its engineering, operations and compliance divisions, CNN reported.
"We [have been] missing out on an opportunity to tap really highly skilled and highly intelligent individuals for the bank," Megan Hogan, global head of diversity recruitment, told CNN Business.
Eventually, the firm would like 1% of employees to identify as neurodiverse, according to Hogan, who said there's no deadline to hit that target.
"This is a pool that often doesn't self-disclose for fear they wouldn't be able to find roles," she said. "We realized we needed to be a lot more proactive."
The program is meant to complement existing programs to tap neurodiverse job candidates on college campuses, Hogan added. It will also feature training and support for participating managers.
The high levels of unemployment among individuals on the autism spectrum is "a missed opportunity for employers and society, considering this highly intelligent and skilled talent pool embodies intense levels of concentration and dependability, and often higher retention rates than neurotypical people," Dane Holmes, Goldman Sachs head of human capital management, said in a LinkedIn post.
"At Goldman Sachs, we believe who you are - including everything that makes you unique - contributes to how you add value to what you do. And so, we are committed to fostering a supportive environment that welcomes and celebrates all of our differences," Holmes added.
Goldman said the neurodiversity initiative is modeled after its so-called Returnship, an eight-week program for people who have taken long leaves of absence from work, and its Veterans Integration Program, for those leaving the military. Those initiatives launched in 2008 and 2012, respectively.
The two programs have had almost 700 participants to date, according to a spokeswoman. About three-quarters of interested participants have received full-time offers, she said.