Inclusivity Brings Big Benefits

CAI’s Autism2Work (A2W) practice puts its innovative method of recruiting, onboarding, and training to work at HM Health Solutions to bridge the gap between those diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and meaningful employment.


Highmark Health, one of the largest integrated health care delivery and financing systems in the U.S., is known for its commitment to diversity, innovation, and collaboration. In fact, the Disability Equality Index has named the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania-based company a “Best Place to Work” for individuals with disabilities since the benchmark’s launch in 2014. When the organization’s IT company, HM Health Solutions, discovered a need for expanded capabilities, it decided to grow its full-time employment opportunities to include individuals diagnosed with ASD – but it wanted to ensure success right out of the gate.


The company turned to A2W, an initiative of business-solutions firm CAI, to deploy a team of individuals diagnosed with ASD in support of its greater diversity efforts. It knew A2W would help establish the right processes for recruiting, training, and integrating individuals diagnosed with ASD into the workplace.

A2W worked closely with the company to identify the areas that would benefit from the project – in this case, quality assurance, access control, and mainframe development – and began hand-picking employees to build the respective teams. Each team is led by an A2W Team Lead certified to work with individuals diagnosed with ASD. The Quality Assurance team got to work immediately on release management, automated testing, scripting, and documentation. The Access Management team quickly got up to speed in the needed security access and risk management work. A2W also deployed a third team of mainframe developers.


The A2W recruiting process is designed to match qualified candidates for specific roles, preparing employees for long-term success – not short-term employment. The preparation paid off quickly for HM Health Solutions.

The A2W team members had the ongoing workplace support they needed to leverage their strengths – including attention to detail, a preference for repetitive work, a high level of concentration, and superior problem-solving and pattern recognition abilities – and the increase in productivity was evidence. The new teams quickly exceeded expectations in both quantity and quality of work, proving they could handle multiple types of requests without error and ahead of service-level agreement (SLA) timeframes.

The A2W Access Management team today completes four times the number of security requests per week it is asked to complete, delivering 65 – 70 percent of all requests even though it makes up just 40 percent of the larger team. The A2W Quality Assurance team is programming in Java and working on leading-edge technology for testing automation, incorporating searches, data input, and web page reliability into a complex web-based system for the company. A2W team members work closely with HM Health Solutions colleagues and participate in social activities, team meetings, and team-building activities. And they continue to accomplish increasingly demanding work.

[The A2W teams] took our goals and blew them away. We can eliminate some of our statements of work. We can eliminate costs.

Sandra Stefanic, VP of HM Health Solutions
65 - 70% of all requests are completed by the A2W team.
4 times the number of requests required are completed per week.

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