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Training in data: a unique program for Asperger’s profiles

Une formation Data Aspergers pilote en France
Published on
15 March 2019

In January 2019, Grenoble Ecole de Management launched France’s first certificate in data training for Asperger’s profiles. The program is taught in partnership with Grenoble INP and aims to train Asperger’s profiles in the field of data. Modis, a subsidiary of the Adecco group, is the program’s founding sponsor.

By 2020, companies in France will need to fill 900,000 jobs in the data sector. At the same time, 75% of Asperger’s profiles are unemployed or employed in a job function that doesn’t match their potential (see box). In response to this situation, the GEM School for Business and for Society Foundation organized the Data Asperger’s program, launched in January 2019.
28 Asperger’s students joined the program in order to develop their data skills. The program is the first of its kind in France and is taught in partnership with ENSIMAG, Grenoble INP’s school for IT and applied mathematics, and the Digital Campus in the Alps.

Between 15 and 20 Asperger’s students will join the program in order to develop their data skills. The program is the first of its kind in France and will be taught in partnership with ENSIMAG, Grenoble INP’s school for IT and applied mathematics, and the Digital Campus in the Alps.

Modis: a founding sponsor provides three years of support

Modis, a subsidiary of the Adecco Group, is a global leader for consulting in digital services, engineering and life sciences. To support its clients’ transformation, data management is an essential part of its offer. As part of the company’s CSR policy, Modis has been working for the past several years to encourage diversity and employment for disabled workers.

As the founding sponsor of the Data Asperger’s program, Modis signed a three year partnership with GEM to support the integration of Asperger’s profiles in the workplace. Modis will help with recruitment, designing the educational content and supporting graduating classes over the next three years. Over the course of the three-year partnership, 75 students will be trained as data analysts and developers.

A highly technical program that integrates social skills

The Asperger’s Data program builds on GEM’s Advanced Master’s in Big Data. This unique program includes six months of online, technical training delivered by Grenoble INP and the Digital Campus in the Alps. It also includes several weeks of training at GEM to develop social skills to match future job requirements.

Specifically trained professionals will provide students with support throughout the program and a certified coach will support them during the job search, application, and workplace integration process. The coach will also provide training for a company’s team members before they welcome a new Asperger’s profile colleague.

The Asperger’s Data program is also supported by the Altran Technology Group and the SAP Group.

Asperger's syndrome and data: a perfect match

Asperger's is a form of autism that includes difficulties with social skills, communication and organizing work tasks. These profiles also tend to have very high cognitive potential and finely tuned interests for specific fields. In the field of data, their rigorous perspective and their capacity for analytical thinking can enable them to be more efficient than other employees.

Three questions for Laurent Graciani, General Director of the Adecco Group and responsible for specialized brands such as Modis.

Why has Modis agreed to fund and support this program?

This program fits right in with our policy on disability and encouraging diversity in the workplace. We’re implementing a wide variety of initiatives to build skills for potential job candidates who would otherwise be kept aside from job employment. For example, in 2017 we launched the Modis Digital Academy, which offers a three-month certificate for digital skills. This initiative enabled us to recruit 140 long-term contracts at Modis.

When GEM reached out to us, we were enthusiastic about a unique program that would offer 500 hours of training in Big Data for Asperger’s profiles. This inspiring project also represents a real management challenge and will enable Modis to go further in its search to include and encourage the participation of disabled workers.

What’s your perspective on the data sector in France?

There is both a lack of qualified workers, in particular in data engineering, and strong market demand for such talent. This lack of qualified talent is a barrier for Modis’s growth. To support our clients’ digital transformation, we have to create the skills of tomorrow and recruit the best talent on the market.

What are your arguments to convince other companies to support this program or recruit its graduates?

Diversity covers everything from age, ethnicity and sexual orientation to disabilities. At Modis, we see diversity as a source of performance. By opening our doors to a greater variety of candidates, we can increase our recruitment. This is why we agree to be the three-year founding sponsor for GEM’s Asperger’s program. In addition to providing financial support, we can also provide students with our expertise on the digital sector. They will be able to participate in meetings that will take place in our buildings throughout the program. It’s a first step towards integrating the workplace. For those students most interested in consulting, we will offer them the opportunity to join Modis with a long-term contract.

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