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Advance Your Career with the Synchrony Tech Scholarship for Autistic Adults

The demand for professional certifications has significantly increased in recent years, especially for IT and technical positions. This increased demand has led many job applicants towards continuous learning and professional development prior to and during employment.

Hire Autism, A Program of the Organization for Autism Research

A 2020 IT Skills and Salary Report found that eighty-seven percent of IT professionals have at least one certification, while nearly 40% are already pursuing their next certification. You may be wondering why certifications and other training programs are so desired and what the benefits of taking these courses are.

Many factors play into landing a job or growing your career. However, professional development and continued education in your field of interest are among the most significant factors. In a competitive job market, certifications can help autistic individuals gain the skill set they need to meet a job description’s preferred and desired requirements.

Certifications improve one’s resume by showing potential employers that you have the skills necessary to complete the job, you are invested in your career, and you are up to date on the latest trends (Jobscan). In presenting to an employer that you have the skills they need, your chances of landing the job increase. A new Coursera study found that employers are, on average, 72% more likely to hire a candidate who has earned one.

Not only can completing a certificate increase one’s opportunity to land a job, but it can also help job seekers already in the workforce receive a promotion or higher salary. Of the 9,505 participants in the 2020 IT Skills and Salary Report, nearly 20% reported that they either received a raise or a promotion after getting a certification.

Outside of the extrinsic and monetary benefits of taking a certificate program, there are direct benefits to an individual’s overall success and happiness in their role. Pearson Vues 2021 Value of IT Certification Report surveyed 29,000 professionals who pursued IT certifications and found that candidates experienced many intrinsic benefits from certification. 91% reported increased confidence in their abilities, 84% reported greater determination to succeed, 76% reported feeling more respected by co-workers, 76% also reported greater job satisfaction and 74% reported greater autonomy at work.

With the mission to support autistic adults in finding and maintaining meaningful employment, Hire Autism (HA), a program of the Organization for Autism Research (OAR), offers the Synchrony Tech Scholarship. Unlike OAR’s other scholarships, which support autistic students pursuing life-skills programs or two and 4-year degree programs, the Synchrony Tech Scholarship supports autistic adults interested in obtaining technology-related training and certifications to pursue or advance their careers.

Acceptable training and certification programs include but are not limited to, the following areas: cybersecurity, game/app development, web development, machine learning, data analytics, cloud computing, ethical hacking, and artificial intelligence.

Whether you are already in a tech career and looking to be promoted, trying to gain the experience you need to land a job in the tech industry, or trying to increase your tech knowledge for another field, this scholarship supports those individualized goals.

What does it take to pursue further training or a certification course, and how do you find the right one?

1. Identify your motivation for taking the course. This will be your “why.” Some common reasons include:

  • Interest in changing careers
  • Seeking a promotion
  • Acquiring a skill that is currently missing on your resume
  • Gaining more confidence in a skill your current role requires

2. Explore training or certificate courses in your field of interest and vet the programs.

3. Do your research and find the answers to the following questions:

  • What are the requirements?
  • How long will it take? Certificate courses can vary in length but, on average, take users between three and seven months to complete (Coursera).
  • What is the cost?
  • Is this program in person or remote? Many certificate courses can be done from the comfort of your home.
  • Is it industry-recognized/offered by an accredited university or organization?
  • How does the program link to your career path?

4. Narrow down the programs you are most interested in.

  • Attending an information session or speaking with a representative of the program can help gain answers to questions and provide clarity.

5. Apply for your program and the Synchrony Tech Scholarship!

  • The application process for certificate programs will vary by organization. For some, there is a more formal acceptance process; for others, users can register anytime.

It is important to note that the Synchrony Tech Scholarship does not allow for retroactive payments. Therefore, if your desired program is one that you can register for at any time, we encourage you to submit your scholarship application and wait to hear back from OAR before beginning your certificate journey. Applicants can expect to hear back from OAR about the status of their application within 60-90 days of submission.

OAR is actively accepting applications for this scholarship on a rolling basis through December 31, 2023. The awards for this scholarship range from $500 – $5,000 and depend on program cost. All interested applicants can learn more about the scholarship and apply online by visiting this link.

When scholarship recipient Lucinda Hemingway was asked how this scholarship would impact her career, she shared, “The OAR Synchrony Tech Scholarship has granted me the opportunity to learn the formal training of frontend development coding. This program is making me feel a renewed strength I felt I did not have permission to have before. I am really thankful for this opportunity from OAR, and I think this will increase my chances of getting a job that fits me better.”

Courtney Carroll is Manager, Hire Autism at the Organization for Autism Research. Have questions or want to learn more about Hire Autism? Contact us via email at



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