Raleigh, NC Jun 29, 2022 State employees with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have a new ally in preparing for career advancement or change at their current job. The NC Career Advancement Resources for Employees on the Spectrum (NCCARES) pilot program is accepting requests from employees with ASD who need support in achieving workplace goals. Governor Roy Cooper announced the NCCARES initiative in April, when he also proclaimed World Autism Month in North Carolina. Crediting state employees with ASD for offering valuable skills and perspective at state government workplaces, Governor Cooper said the innovative program will help agencies “support and retain these employees and better serve our state.” NCCARES reflects an expansion of support services available to state employees through Governor Cooper’s Executive Order 92: Employment First for North Carolinians with Disabilities, which recently marked its third anniversary in March. Interested employees may request support by completing an online request form for NCCARES, which is featured on the NC Office of State Human Resources website. State Talent Acquisition Manager Kristin Siemek will refer eligible employees to the coaching to be provided by UNC TEACCH Autism Center and the Autism Society of North Carolina. NCCARES career counselors will work in individualized sessions supporting efforts to hone management and interpersonal skills to be more effective with supervisors and colleagues, establish new and obtainable career goals, discover solutions to current employment obstacles, develop an employment action plan, provide support to make any changes needed, create a more equitable culture, advocate for the resources needed to succeed, empower the individual to work with current management and future teams and facilitate change and understanding. NCCARES was developed in partnership with the NC Department of Health and Human Services, which will fund the year-long pilot program. The initiative grew from Linking North Carolina with Innovative Talent (LiNC-IT), a collaborative program of the NC Business Committee for Education (NCBCE). LiNC-IT provides internships for early career individuals with ASD and helps employers develop neurodiversity programs. ### Note to Editors: State Talent Acquisition Manager Kristin Siemek is available for in-person or virtual interview regarding NCCARES and how it will help state agencies to better recruit, retain and motivate state employees to provide necessary services for the people of North Carolina. For information, contact OSHR Digital Communications Specialist Devon McGarvey at Devon.McGarvey@nc.gov or 919-219-8249.