Date of Conferral





Public Policy and Administration


Anne L. Fetter


Qualified and capable working age autistics face an 83% unemployment rate, thus, straining the economy and deteriorating their quality of life. This research examines potential contributing factors by inquiring what hiring agents' beliefs may be influencing their selection of qualified autistic candidates. This quantitatively weighted, concurrent, mixed methods (QUAN > qual), multiple linear regression study measured the influence of hiring agents' control, normative, and behavioral beliefs upon their selection of qualified autistic candidates. Through the theoretical lens of Ajzen's theory of planned behavior, conceptually crystallized with other validated theories; a representative, simple, random probability sample of hiring agents throughout the contiguous United States (n = 212) participated in this study. This model statistically significantly identified hiring agents' beliefs influencing their selection of qualified autistic candidates to fill open positions (F(45, 73) = 36.067, p < .001, adj. R2 = .930). The inclusion of autistics in organizational diversity policies and practices (B = 0.266), overcoming dependability stereotypes (B = 0.195), and the fear of embarrassment (B = 0.187) were the most significant (p < .001) quantitative influencers. Participants (30%) qualitatively conveyed a desire for comprehensive autistic education. Future study should explore public policy aimed at organizational education relative to qualified autistic candidates. This increased scientific understanding could help develop expanded public policy leading to decreased unemployment rates for autistics, increased organizational performance for all business types, and improved socioeconomic stability across the nation resulting from increased economic contributions and decreased social service expenditures.