Use Case: DXC Dandelion Program

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DXC Technology (created by merger of Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Computer Science Corporation) is a $25B information technology company with 6,000 clients in 70 countries.

Five years ago, DXC had the idea to create a sustainable program that would increase the workforce participation rate of people on the Autism Spectrum called the Dandelion program. The program is a 3-year program focused on building the careers and skills of people on the spectrum similar to a graduate internship program. What’s unique about the program is its focus on high demand technology jobs technology including cyber security, data analytics and software testing.

The program now encompasses 7 job sites including government agencies and ANZ bank employing 80+ individuals along with 20 that have graduated from the program. You can download an overview of the program here.

Challenge

As the program progressed, numerous challenges were identified:

  • Ongoing mental health issues – anxiety, depression, sleep disorders
  • Managing more then one disability
  • Executive Functioning skills
  • Life/Adaptive skills such as financial awareness and nutrition
  • Untrained managers who lack skills to manage those with Autism
  • Regular awareness training for co-workers (hard given org changes)

Originally, these challenges were overcome via the deployment of trained ASD support personnel at each job site. But, this approach can be expensive and create dependencies on human interaction that are hard to over come once established.

Plus, the creators of the program understood that in order to expand the pool of potential employers, they had to address a number of these issues in a more scalable, cost effective manner.

Solution

In June of 2018, the Dandelion Team was introduced to Life Sherpa and a pilot program was launched with 10 individuals and 5 support personnel. The results of the pilot were informative and encouraging.

Based on the those results, DXC has chosen Life Sherpa to be a key component of Dandelion Program going forward with a focus on addressing key challenges including:

  • Mental Health – Life Sherpa provides a way for individuals to deal with stress, anxiety, moods and blockers.
  • Life Skills – Life Sherpa will provide daily routines before and after work that can be customized by individual.
  • Job Site Management – Daily procedures and check ins tailored to a specific work area and tasks.

Using Life Sherpa, the Dandelion program team is looking to reduce support costs, help individuals overcome their executive function/mental health challenges, and most importantly, help the individuals in the program to become more self-reliant and independent.

Benefits

  • Individuals with ASD – higher job retention, increased “sense of purpose”, enhanced social opportunities and enhanced job/career skills.
  • Employers – high quality work product, enhanced employee satisfaction (diversity/inclusion) broadening of management skills transferable to other work environments.
  • Government – lessened dependency on welfare and employment services, more tax revenue.

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