A team of individuals on the Autistic Spectrum converts thousands of paper files for electronic storage – ahead of schedule and with notable accuracy.

Going Digital

In an effort to modernize its environment, the Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) needed to digitize 27,000 paper files. But converting a backlog of stored and archived files to electronic versions while maintaining day-to-day operations was challenging. The department needed an end-to-end solution that could handle a range of document types and meet a variety of process, regulatory and security mandates. It also knew it would it was likely to see inconsistent requirements across various divisions in the department and have ad-hoc requests that were difficult to foresee.

Creating meaningful work

The Delaware Governor at the time Jack Markell believed that individuals with disabilities deserve the chance to experience the self-fulfillment, confidence, and gratification that comes from a good job. He needed a roadmap that would facilitate employment for those on the autism spectrum to support residents of the State of Delaware.

Markell reached out to CAI’s Autism2Work program to help build that roadmap. Using an innovative process for recruiting and interviewing candidates that allows them to showcase their unique talents in a non-threatening and supportive environment, Autism2Work handled the selection process along with developing and conducting on-the-job training. Four candidates were hired and received support that was tailored toward their social and technical needs in the context of the digitization project.

Meeting the challenge

To complete the project on time, the team needed to upload 1,800 documents a day; the new team exceeded this goal by completing 2,000-2,200 a day. In fact, the State of Delaware was so pleased with the team, it committed to continuing the contract even after the backlog was completed. Five years later, the team had grown to nine analysts and continued to meet or exceed the daily contract requirements with an error rate of 2 percent or less. Today, the State of Delaware employs more than 30 associates on the autism spectrum, including employees on the Archives team, which is responsible for indexing files and rolls of film, and the Historical and Cultural Affairs teams, which is responsible for scanning photo cards and micro fiche of every building in Delaware into the National Archives website.

The State of Delaware hired an Autism2Work team to provide an end-to-end solution for digitizing more than 25,000 documents. The team outpaced the daily goal and far exceeded expectations for productivity and accuracy.