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The Precisionists partners with DuPont, CSC as demand grows

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The Precisionists Inc. has begun placing neurodiverse workers at roles in DuPont as demand grows for workers. | PHOTO COURTESY OF TPI

WILMINGTON – The United States currently has nearly two open job positions for every worker in search of one.

As employers lament the lack of available help, Ernie Dianastasis knows a little-discussed fact: There are about 30 million people under- or unemployed in the country right now. They are the neurodiverse, or those living with disabilities ranging from Down syndrome to Tourette syndrome, attention deficit disorder to the autism spectrum, and more.

Dianastasis, the founder and CEO of The Precisionists Inc. (TPI), which identifies, trains and places neurodiverse individuals in jobs, said he’s never been busier.

“If you think about the unemployment numbers, that tells you there’s a huge labor pool sitting right here in every community that just needs an opportunity,” he told Delaware Business Times. “[The labor shortage] brings more focus to it than there has ever been before. I mean, there was a lot of interest even before the talent shortage and we were growing quickly, but now we’re just exploding.”

Founded in 2016, The Precisionists both prepares and places neurodiverse individuals with employers and also employs them at its Innovation and Technology Center off U.S. Route 202 north of Wilmington to complete remote contract work for partners as well.

“These folks are incredibly talented, but up to now they’ve been under- or unemployed most of their adult lives, because their neurodiversity has made it challenging for them to function properly in a corporate work environment,” Dianastasis explained. “Yet, if we help them with some training and techniques, and we’ve worked with our customer companies, we get them ready to come on site.”

To date, TPI has placed hundreds of workers with companies like Comcast, Exelon and M&T Bank. Its goal is to place 10,000 neurodiverse workers within the next five years.

In the last month has announced new partnerships with business services giant CSC and Delaware mainstay manufacturer DuPont.

Pete Steiner, CSC’s vice president of technology, told DBT that they are looking to place TPI employees in roles completing everything from document scanning, filing, and indexing to software development, testing and quality assurance.

“Ernie and his team provide people on the autism spectrum who have the capabilities to be very productive in those jobs,” Steiner said. “People on the spectrum have a very good attention to detail and thoroughness with repeatable tasks that have to be done quickly with a high degree of accuracy.”

“To us, it opens in a tight job market a pool of candidates who are qualified to do the job and makes a really wonderful fit,” he added.

Meanwhile, DuPont is employing neurodiverse workers at its Tralee Park facility in Newark for the first time. The trained individuals will work within DuPont’s Kalrez business line to perform final inspections in the manufacturing of Kalrez O-rings, providing dimensional and visual conformity inspections against defined specifications.

“We’re excited to partner with The Precisionists on this pilot to support neurodiverse individuals in the workplace,” said Kimberly Markiewicz, DuPont vice president of diversity, equity, and inclusion, in a statement announcing the pilot. “Being a diverse and inclusive company means that everyone can come to work with their own unique and special skills and talents. That’s why we’re fostering a culture and environment where everyone feels valued and most of all, empowered to maximize their potential for success.”

Individuals working at both CSC and DuPont will complete a four-week training program, while TPI will also provide training to the partner companies to help them better understand the needs of their new workers.

Dianastasis said TPI finds new employees primarily through word of mouth in the neurodiverse community. It added 40 employees in the first quarter of this year, in one of its largest quarterly additions to date, he added.

The word gets out. It’s a tight-knit community because parents, families and caregivers have been looking for an answer like this for years. So, the word travels pretty fast when we’ve created successful careers for folks who had given up on even having a chance to do that,” he said.

TPI also has presences in Nashville, Phoenix and Cleveland, and it’s preparing to close agreements to open branches in two more cities this year, Dianastasis said. The company has eight cities that are actively courting them, exemplifying the need for workforce and the realization that the neurodiverse population is a huge under-tapped resource. It expects to grow further next year.

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