Apr 17, 2023 |

Inclusion and Action: The Success Story of our Autism Spectrum Internship Program in India

In 2020, Thomson Reuters India launched an internship program for people with autism and intellectual or developmental disabilities. With the program now entering its fourth cohort in 2023, we sat down with Neha Sathish, a member of the core planning team, to learn more about the program and its impact over the past couple of years.

What is the Autism Spectrum Internship?

The Autism Spectrum Internship is a six-month internship program. The program began in 2020 and has already brought over 40 interns to Thomson Reuters. Although the program initially focused only on talent on the spectrum, it soon widened its scope to include all neurodiverse candidates. Interns get to work on teams within Reuters, Content Operations, Human Resources, Technology, and Finance. While working with these teams, the interns have developmental opportunities that align with their skills and career aspirations.

Can you talk about the journey of creating the program? What was the inspiration; and when did the work begin? Did you face any challenges and how did you overcome them?

Our team first had the idea for this type of program three years ago. We wanted to explore opportunities to enhance diversity and make our workplace more inclusive. Many organizations in India do not have a program in the neurodiversity space, and we wanted to be among the pioneers in the field.

The team overcame adversity when starting the program, which included a lack of internal subject matter expertise and changes required in our recruitment process. These challenges were overcome when we formed a strategic partnership with a non-profit partner specializing in neurodiversity. Fast forward to today, and we have already had three cohorts of interns in the program.

What was the overall impact of the program?

Most of the interns transitioned to contractor roles after the program. Additionally, six contractors from the first two cohorts of the program became full-time employees at Thomson Reuters. The program’s impact has been widespread, from the participants to the teams they supported and even the intern’s families.

“One stand out moment was the first day of the program. My son was seated virtually in front of his managers. He was answering all of the questions they had been asking with so much confidence that tears kept rolling down mine and my husband’s and eyes. My son was treated with so much love, support, and respect and he was so warmly welcomed to Thomson Reuters. This was something my son had never experienced before.”

– Catherine, Intern’s mother

“What impressed me was the intern’s learning curve. This allowed us to assign them complex tasks. Another solid takeaway is their willingness to learn new skills.”

– Arpan, Editor in Charge

“This internship has changed my son’s life, and also ours.”

– Anindita, Intern’s mother

“The intern was so efficient, and I was impressed by the attention to detail of the program. It has been a great experience so far.”

– Chayanika, Manager, Digital Solutions

We are excited about the success of the program and the launch of our fourth cohort in 2023. Thanks to Neha and the team for their commitment to creating a more equitable and inclusive workplace for everyone.