Bridging Potential to Opportunity

Executive Summary
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 public / private partnership that provides training and experience tuition free that 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.
The Problem we are Solving:
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 and are capable of filling knowledge worker roles 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.
Solution:
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.

Successful Prototypes:
Prototypes have been completed in several locations with transformative results.  To date, nearly 200 people with disabilities have completed the program with average graduation and employment internship rates over 90%.  200 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.

The program is delivered through an innovative community partnership ecosystem of governments, employers, service agencies and advocacy groups.  Together we are transforming employment and people's lives.

Planning is underway for additional programs in additional employment centers in the US, Europe, Africa and Asia.  For more information on how you can participate email: promzek@threetalents.org

Our Vision and Plan:
We envision bridge to opportunity programs that support people of varying abilities to develop a certified skill set through the active engagement and support of community stakeholders, employers, and industry leaders that bridges their vast potential to in-demand high paying jobs.  In the process we hope to enrich and transform their lives.

Planning is underway to expand and extend this program to new locations, new technologies and new industries.  Contact us for more information. 

Our Unique Solution is Transformational:
While many programs and organizations aspire to expand disability inclusion, we are having meaningful impact through our unique approach:

  • All disabilities welcomed: The Bridge to Opportunity welcomes people with all disabilities who are supported, encouraged, inspired and wanted.
  • Certification overcomes barriers: Graduates are certified and credentialed from industry leaders for in-demand IT opportunities.  This overcomes education barriers and prepares our candidates for high paying IT jobs.
  • Employment Is our only Goal: We develop skills and work experience for in-demand roles and help assure employment through the proactive and enthusiastic support of employers as we engage the sponsoring employers throughout training lifecycle.
  • Made possible through our unique partnerships: We welcome government groups, employers, development agencies, and other mission aligned organizations to partner with us to deliver the program.  Their support allows us to deliver it tuition-free to candidates and supports our high success rates. 
  • Potential everywhere:  This program is financially sustainable so it is scalable and highly replicable.  Opportunities for success exist almost everywhere.   
  • Benefits All:   Our innovative model and partnerships alllow a broad range of partners to participate and contribute to program success.  All  stakeholder benefit from this model. 

Summary:
Employment of people with disabilities remains chronically low while millions of IT jobs go unfilled.  Employers cannot find employable talent and the labor pool is declining in many countries.  The pandemic is exacerbating these challenges.  Candidates with disabilities often lack “employable skills” that limit their employment potential.  The Bridge to Opportunity academy builds employable skills which unlocks potential and transforms lives.   It is a proven program achieving very high success rates, in which all stakeholders contribute and all benefit.  

Together with our partners, we will transform employment for people with disabilities, unlock their potential, create a bridge to opportunity…and in the process we will transform lives.

Questions and Further Information:
If you have questions, or would like more information please contact:
Patrick Romzek, promzek@threetalents.org

Success Stories and Links:

Cisco LifeChanger Summary by Cisco (2017):
https://www.cisco.com/c/dam/en_us/about/inclusion-collaboration/life-changer.pdf

Inclusive Academy Summary, Vienna Austria (2017):
https://zeroproject.org/zero-project-it-academy/

NYC AbilITy Academy (2018):
https://www1.nyc.gov/assets/mopd/downloads/pdf/mayors_office_of_people_with_disabilities_launches_the_ability_cisco_academy_powered_by_nyc_atwork.pdf

The Nigel Floris Story - Life Changed by NYC abilITy Academy (2018):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6eMmIrp5wnI&t=2s

Cisco Blog on NYC abilITy Academy (10/2019):
https://blogs.cisco.com/csr/how-the-ability-cisco-networking-academy-is-turning-disability-into-opportunity

Detroit Exceptional Academy:
https://www.livingandlearningcenter.org/cybersecurity-certification-program-for-adults-with-disabilities%EF%BB%BF/

Bridge Academy Program Presentation to the International Labour Organization (2019):
https://youtu.be/7zI187m6LSg

Cybersecurity Talent Shortage and Bridge Academy in Michigan (2020):
https://www.forbes.com/sites/tedknutson/2020/02/11/cybersecurity-jobs-going-begging-as-college-computer-science-grads-lack-skillsexperience-says-house-leader/#615224211df1

Cisco Blog Post Highlighting the Exceptional Academy in MI (2020):
 https://blogs.cisco.com/csr/cisco-networking-academy-creates-a-much-needed-skills-to-job-pathway-for-diverse-midwest-students

Institute for Career Development (ICD) NYC Launch and Ribbon Cutting Video (2018):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qn_hNPUyiDs

Institute for Career Development (ICD) NYC Student Testimonials:

Fox 2 News Detroit story about the Exceptional Academy in Metro Detroit:
https://www.fox2detroit.com/news/covid-19s-disruptions-to-daily-life-are-nothing-new-to-the-students-of-the-exceptional-academy

Bridge Academy In Massachusetts Launch Press Release from the  Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission:
https://www.mass.gov/news/mrc-launches-cybersecurity-training-for-people-with-disabilities-in-massachusetts

Partner story about the Exceptional Academy in Michigan:

https://www.plantemoran.com/explore-our-thinking/insight/2021/05/beyond-fast-food-students-with-autism-find-careers

Watch the Virtual Launch of the Michigan Bridge Academy Program:
Entire Launch video
Comments from former Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley

Student Testimonials from recent program launches:
Michigan Bridge Academy Cohort 1 Students Comments
Nairobi Bridge Academy Cohort 1 Student Comments

To view an overview video of the Bridge to Opportunity Program click:
https://vimeo.com/437678454