Melwood, Mitre and University of Washington Launch Neurodiversity@Work Playbook to Reimagine Federal Recruitment Processes for Neurodivergent Individuals

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Melwood, Mitre and University of Washington Launch Neurodiversity@Work Playbook to Reimagine Federal Recruitment Processes for Neurodivergent Individuals

May 1, 2024

These three organizations are coming together to offer a framework for federal agencies to build a more neuroinclusive workforce.


Upper Marlboro, Md. – Melwood, a leading employer, advocate, and preferred provider for people with disabilities, University of Washington Information School and MITRE, a federally funded research and development center, are proud to launch the Neurodiversity@Work Playbook: Federal Edition. The Playbook is a first-of-its-kind recruiting, hiring, training and retention tool created for the federal government to design, scale, and sustain a neuroinclusive workplace across its agencies.

The Playbook features 11 chapters covering everything from recruitment sourcing and interview and selection process to training, retention and career development. It contains a suite of tools and resources readily available for the federal workforce to attract and empower talent and build a labor force to meet the demands of the workforce today and in the future.

This edition builds on the release of the original Autism@Work Playbook in 2019 and draws on Melwood and MITRE’s experience standing up Neurodiverse Federal Workforce pilots, interviews and focus groups with professionals across various federal agencies and contributions from leading neuroinclusion external partners including Beyond Impact, Neurodiversity in the Workplace, and Potentia, which shared their expertise working with a range of private organizations that have successfully implemented neurodiversity hiring initiatives.

“Melwood is proud to partner with the University of Washington and MITRE on this important project that will help bridge the gap between open positions within the federal government and an overlooked, but highly skilled segment of our workforce,” said Larysa Kautz, President & CEO of Melwood. “Due to systemic barriers in traditional job-interview processes, neurodivergent individuals face significant barriers to employment and often experience unemployment and underemployment rates far greater than the national average. By helping our federal government create a neuroinclusive hiring and retention process, this Playbook offers ready-to-use solutions to fast-track the advancement of a neuroinclusive workforce across federal agencies.”

“We’ve seen the transformative impact that creating neurodiverse workplaces can have on neurodiverse employees and the organizations they work for,” said Teresa Thomas, neurodiversity program lead at MITRE. “This Playbook gives federal agencies a guide to creating their own neurodiversity programs to help them value and incorporate the broad spectrum of perspectives needed to solve the nation’s hardest challenges.”

“Neurodiversity in the workplace is a reality every employer must recognize and design for,” said Dr. Hala Annabi, associate professor at the University of Washington Information School. “The Neurodiversity@Work Playbook Federal Edition is the culmination of months and years of hard work designed to empower federal agencies to implement neuroinclusive employment practices. I was very fortunate to have the support and be able to leverage the tremendous experience of my collaborators at Melwood and MITRE. Their experience and depth of knowledge of the workings of the federal space was critical to our success.”

For more information about the Playbook, please visit:


About Melwood

Melwood is one of the largest employers of people with disabilities in the country, employing more than 1,500 workers – over 750 of whom are people with disabilities. Melwood offers job placement, job training, life skills for independence, and support services to more than 3,000 people each year in DC, Maryland, and Virginia. Melwood also has an inclusive summer camp program for children and provides additional youth and community recreational services for individuals with disabilities. For more information, visit



MITRE’s mission-driven teams are dedicated to solving problems for a safer world. Through our public-private partnerships and federally funded R&D centers, we work across government and in partnership with industry to tackle challenges to the safety, stability, and well-being of our nation.


About the University of Washington Information School
The University of Washington Information School believes in the power of information to change lives. Through instruction, research and practice, the UW Information School, or “iSchool,” is shaping the ways people create, store, find, manipulate and share information. Our work helps people address information challenges more ethically, effectively and with a heightened sense of possibility. Learn more at

The ISchool is home to the UW Initiative for Neurodiversity and Employment brings together leading scholars and practitioners to advance research and practice employment for neurodivergent people. Learn more here:


Media Inquiries

Jewelyn Cosgrove
Vice President of Government and Public Relations
O: 240-846-3952
[email protected]


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