“I was worried about applying for a job knowing that I have disabilities,” said Francine Heisler, an IT generalist in the Technology Analyst program, who is part of Freddie Mac’s 2021 neurodiversity hiring. “People don’t necessarily realize how wide the autism spectrum is and that people present differently.”
Experiences like Heisler’s are more common than you may think: one in every 54 children has been identified with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), according to a 2020 CDC study. Companies are becoming more and more open to hiring people with autism and developing programs to increase the number of neurodiverse people in the workforce. Freddie Mac first developed a neurodiversity initiative as an internship program in 2012, but based on its success, revamped the program for full-time employees in 2020.
Freddie Mac’s Neurodiversity at Work Program now hires people with disabilities to bring their skills to our company. Program leaders continue to mentor new talent beyond the initial hiring process, acting as a continual checkpoint if needed for those on the neurodiversity spectrum throughout their careers at Freddie Mac. They also encourage neurodiversity training for future team members and managers.
“From monthly check-ins and not needing to inform others about my disability, this program has helped to make me more comfortable,” said Heisler about her experience with the program, “and I know I’m not the only one.”
Leaders in the program, such as Sarah Crump, manager of the Office of Inclusive Engagement, strive to better understand those with neurodiversity and learn how to work together.
“Different perspectives make us a stronger company, drive innovation and support Freddie Mac’s mission to make home possible,” Crump said. “Efforts like the Neurodiversity at Work Program ensure we are including all perspectives.”
“I knew they wouldn’t be surprised by anything and the worry of when to disclose my disability would be removed,” Heisler recalled.
Heisler works hard to be successful in her role, and she is on the path to advancement. She credits some of that to Freddie Mac’s inclusive culture that focuses on helping all employees dealing with a disability bring their whole selves to work.
“I’m glad to be working at Freddie Mac with a manager like mine, who sees me for who I am with my strengths and challenges, and who accepts me just like any other employee on our team,” Francine said. “The comfort of this acceptance allows me to use the energy I previously expended in hiding my disability. I can now present my best self to accomplish my best work.”
Do you want to work for a company that is committed to being a leader in inclusive hiring? Become a part of the Freddie Mac team. Search our open opportunities today.