Patrick Viesti, a 2008 graduate of Delaware County Community College, will never forget the day he visited the United Nations in New York City, not as a spectator, but as a guest speaker.
Viesti, who has the autism spectrum disorder Asperger’s Syndrome, spoke to U.N. officials and hundreds of people in the audience and online about how people with autism can be valuable employees for businesses seeking to succeed. Viesti should know. He was hired in March 2014 by SAP America, Inc. and works in the company’s Newtown Square headquarters as an information technology project associate.
Impressed by Viesti, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon posted an Internet blog that day titled, “Why you should hire people with autism,” in which he issued a call to action to businesses worldwide to commit to hiring people with autism.
He cited Viesti as a prime example.
“Patrick Viesti is an IT Project Associate at SAP, a multinational software corporation, where he has worked for nine months,” Ki-moon wrote. He added that despite research suggesting that people on the autism spectrum have heightened pattern recognition and logical reasoning, as well as greater attention to detail, more than 80 percent of adults with autism are unemployed.
According to SAP, Viesti has thrived at the company and is a bright, productive, and valued member of the staff. He also is an advocate for SAP’s “Autism at Work” program and has volunteered to share his perspective with news media, including with the CBS This Morning television news show.
SAP started “Autism at Work” in India in 2012, but has since expanded the program to the United States, Germany, Canada, and Ireland.