The Value of Neurodiversity in the Manufacturing Workforce

Peter Rathmann, CEO of Allis Manufacturing

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Peter Rathmann is an advocate for neurodiversity in the manufacturing workforce. As CEO of Allis Manufacturing, he's built a culture that gives these individuals the tools for a successful career. As a father, he's seen his own daughter Emma, who has Asperger's Syndrome, find passion in a manufacturing job.

Now, Peter joins us on the podcast to shed light on the great value these individuals can bring to the manufacturing workforce.

If you're a manufacturer who can't find people to fill your open positions, you'll learn about a whole segment of our population that could be a perfect match for your company. If you're a parent or educator, you'll learn all about the career opportunities in manufacturing for neurodiverse individuals, and why this industry has an environment that could be a great match for them.

In this episode, you'll learn:

  • What is neurodiversity? Understanding a term that covers a wide spectrum
  • The misconceptions of autism and what you should know about it
  • Why neurodiverse individuals may be perfectly wired for manufacturing jobs
  • How to build a work culture and environment that sets these individuals up for success
  • Advice for educators to help raise awareness and pathways into manufacturing careers

Plus, you'll hear heartwarming success stories and get a plethora of resources from organizations that are helping neurodiverse individuals find work in manufacturing!

3 Big Takeaways from this episode:

  1. Neurodiverse individuals can bring unique strengths to the workplace: The characteristics manufacturing leaders say they want from their workforce (showing up every day, timeliness, paying attention to their work, efficiency, accuracy) are the same qualities that those with autism can bring to the table. Peter shares the success stories of his own neurodiverse daughter and employees and how their unique approach to the world makes them excellent manufacturing employees.
  2.  Manufacturers must build a supportive work environment that values neurodiversity and creates space for growth and autonomy: There are certainly challenges to hiring neurodiverse individuals, and Peter shares insights into how to build a work environment that enables these people to succeed at their role. He also shares how to create support and awareness for the rest of your workforce and management to lead and work alongside these individuals.
  3. There are training programs and support organizations dedicated to helping neurodiverse individuals get the skills they need to work in manufacturing: Hear about The Uniquely Abled Project and the Uniquely Abled Academy at Milwaukee Area Technical College (MATC), which is currently helping those with autism learn to become machinists. Listen to hear about a number of other organizations that provide services to neurodiverse individuals and their families, as well as employers, that help bring more people into successful employment.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

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