Millions of people with disabilities lack skills for entry level IT jobs, are chronically unemployed and lack self confidence, while millions of IT jobs go unfilled. Our Bridge to Opportunity Academy builds employable skills and work experience which unlocks the potential of people with disabilities, and helps fill the talent gap. We deliver this program through a partnership ecosystem in each community that provides training and experience tuition free and leads to meaningful jobs. This program is built on successful prototypes around the world with high success rates. Additional programs are planned and in process in the U.S., Europe, Africa, and Asia.
Employment rates for people with disabilities remains chronically low while the overall employment continues at a very high level for others. Employers struggle to find talent, while many millions of people all over the world with disabilities are unemployed. The pandemic is driving businesses to accelerate their digitization efforts and further increasing the demand for IT talent. Most people with disabilities want to work, are capable of extraordinary contributions as knowledge workers, but often lack the education, skills or experiences to be considered for these jobs. As a result, the employment challenges for individuals continues and the overall labor participation rates for people with disabilities are not progressing.
To solve this skills gap, and to enable transformative employment opportunities, we are building training academies that provide people with disabilities with certified skills that lead to high paying IT jobs. Our initial prototypes leverage the Cisco Networking Academy program to develop certifiable IT skills that leads to a high paying jobs and careers. The certification the students receive is portable globally.
Prototypes have been completed in several locations with transformative results. To date, over 300 people with disabilities have completed the program with average graduation and employment internship rates of 90%. 300 additional students are enrolled in a program somewhere in the world today.
We unlock the great potential of people with disabilities and creates a bridge to the significant opportunities in the IT industry. We enable the extraordinary.
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