Writing, Ms. Reyes explained, is the way she communicates best. “For many organizations, this was seen as something that would be a disadvantage,” she said in an email, “rather than a way for me to be more involved.”
Ultranauts does not use work experience to filter job candidates. The company conducts structured interviews, but hiring is largely based on assessments of the skills it has developed to measure traits such as the ability to work through new problems and to take directions and apply them. Work simulations are another test.
Tulco, an investment company in Pittsburgh, hired Ultranauts this year to work on data quality. Tulco is investing in traditional business, which it says can become more efficient and profitable by applying data science and artificial intelligence, but creating these AI algorithms requires sifting through a lot of scattered data.
“This is a workforce with inherent strengths,” Mr Marolda said. “They’re really good at pattern recognition and they’re really good at working on details.”
Looking for new groups of skilled workers and encouraged by advocacy groups, several companies have launched autistic recruitment and hiring programs in recent years, including SAP, Microsoft, Ernst & Young, and JPMorgan Chase.
Ultranauts is one of a handful of small companies and non-profit organizations in Europe and the United States that employ mostly workers with autism to work in technology. Others include Specialisterne, Auticon, Daivergent and Aspiritech. Ultranauts stand out, experts say, for working entirely remotely from the start and for developing their carefully crafted combination of digital tools and workplace practices.