Information technology recruiters should take note. More companies are recruiting technical talent that is also neurodiverse (ND), which has led to some unexpected benefits. With diversity and inclusion goals coming from top management and flowing down throughout organizations, looking for ND candidates to address tech talent gaps can help meet multiple initiatives. ND covers many neurocognitive differences, such as ADHD, dyslexia, Tourette’s syndrome, autism, PTSD, as well as many disabilities. By making adjustments in recruiting, hiring, onboarding, and workplace practices, companies like Microsoft have been able to tap into a large talent pool. Microsoft’s Neil Barnett, director of inclusive hiring and accessibility, set up a screening process that gave candidates a way to demonstrate ability, complete tasks, and solve problems first before engaging them on their soft skills.  “Weaving talent with disabilities into the fabric of the company creates better processes, products and services for everyone,” Barnett says. “Many of our engineers are writing code that’s used daily by millions of consumers. Diversity not only enriches Microsoft’s performance, it’s also essential to our long-term success and continued innovation.”

Layoffs Impacting the Cleared Industry

USPS Call it reductions in force or call it layoffs, but it’s what the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) says it needs to do. While specific numbers of reductions have not been identified, the USPS has offered voluntary early retirement to eligible workers in March, with final plans slated for May. Depending on retirements, as well as, agency reorganization plans, layoffs could be minimal. The next month will determine the impact.

“There will be employee impacts as a result of district closings and administrative reductions,” said Dave Partenheimer, a USPS spokesman. “The specific employee impacts have not been determined at this time.”

“The plan that’s in process right now is an administrative headcount reduction of some 60,000 people that was brought about with our realignment,” Postmaster General Louis DeJoy said.

As contractors raise concerns about the costs of Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC), the DoD is conducting an internal assessment of its program. The Pentagon’s goal is to make sure that the current approach with CMMC implementation will hit the expected goals in the best way possible. From implementation methods and measurements to price tag concerns, industry has been watchful and sometimes wary. No one denies the need for standards, but conservative cost estimates don’t do anyone any favors when it comes to implementing a program of this size. The Pentagon held off on giving any specifics on timing for the review.

Hiring impacting the Cleared Industry

Rebellion Defense Rebellion Defense has a bit of an unconventional approach to creating technology in the defense market – self-funding product development. Rebellion has a Software-as-a-Service model that gets customers results on day one, and then through iterative development add new product features.

Right now, Rebellion has a goal of hiring 10% monthly to their employee count over the next year. Greatest needs are for senior level designers and senior level engineers – including artificial intelligence and machine learning.


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Opportunity to Watch

Virginia Tech was awarded a $1.5 million DoD grant to pipeline cybersecurity students into the defense world. While Virginia Tech already has an ongoing relationship with the National Security Agency (NSA), this grant pulls in the DoD to fund learning projects, develop curriculum, and provide research opportunities in cybersecurity. Faculty members collaborate with the DoD and the NSA in order to fill gaps in critical workforce skills. The funding will focus on increasing machine learning and data science, as well as grow skills an abilities in defensive and offensive cyber operations.

“What we’re hoping to convince them of is that careers in the federal government — the DOD in particular — are so impactful and interesting that they want to go there,” Laura Freeman, a research associate professor of statistics in Virginia Tech’s College of Science and principal investigator on the grant says.

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Jillian Hamilton has worked in a variety of Program Management roles for multiple Federal Government contractors. She has helped manage projects in training and IT. She received her Bachelors degree in Business with an emphasis in Marketing from Penn State University and her MBA from the University of Phoenix.