When writing, Ms. Reis explained, she communicates best. “For many companies this was seen as a disadvantage,” she said in an email, “and not as an opportunity for me to get more involved.”
Ultranauts don’t use work experience to filter applicants. The company does structured interviews, but hiring is largely based on competency assessments that it has developed to measure traits such as ability to solve new problems, take guidelines and apply them. Work simulations are another test.
Tulco, a Pittsburgh investment firm, hired Ultranauts to do data quality work earlier this year. Tulco invests in traditional companies that it believes can become more efficient and profitable by applying data science and artificial intelligence, but these A.I. Algorithms require searching through amounts of data.
Ultranauts’ work impressed Matthew Marolda, Executive Vice President, Data Science at Tulco. On one project, the team cleaned up a large amount of information and loaded it into an A.I. Model at remarkable speed, days instead of weeks, he said.
“This is a workforce with inherent strengths,” said Marolda. “You are really good at pattern recognition and very good at detailing.”
Several companies have launched programs for the recruitment and employment of autistic workers in recent years, including SAP, Microsoft, Ernst & Young, and JPMorgan Chase.
Ultranauts is one of the few small businesses and nonprofits in Europe and the US that primarily employ autistic workers for technology work. Others are Specialisterne, Auticon, Daivergent and Aspiritech. According to experts, ultranauts are characterized by the fact that they work completely remotely from the start, developing a carefully crafted combination of digital tools and practices in the workplace.