Bridging Potential to Opportunity

The Problem we are Solving:
Employment rates for people with disabilities (PWD) remains chronically low while the overall employment rate (labor participation rate) is at historic high levels.  Employers struggle to find talent, while many millions of people all over the world with disabilities are unemployed.  Most people with disabilities want to work and are capable of significant roles but often lack the education, skills or experiences for meaningful jobs.  As a result, the employment challenges for individuals continue and the overall labor participation rates for people with disabilities is not progressing. 

To solve this skills gap, and to enable employment opportunties which can in turn transform their lives, we are building training academies that provide people with disabilities with certifed skills that lead to high paying jobs.  Our initial prototypes leverage the Cisco Networking Academy program to develop employable skills and globally recognized certification that leads to a high paying job careers portable to every major employment center globally. 

Successful Prototypes:
Prototypes have been completed in several locations with transformative results.  To date, over 160 people with disabilities have participated in programs in the pilot centers in the US and Europe with average graduation rates of 97% and employment rates of 95%.  This program unlocks the great potential of people with disabilities and creates a bridge to the significant opportunities in the IT industry.   They are delivered through an innovative 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.  For more information on how you can participate email:

Our vision is to have programs in all major employment centers and applicable for all abilities.  We envision expanding the curriculum to address varying abilities and  interests, with active engagement and support of employers, that target in-demand jobs.

Program principles:

Our success is attributable to our fundamental principles:

  • All Disabilities targeted: All disabilities welcomed and accommodated.
  • Certification: Graduates are certified and credentials portable worldwide.
  • Employment Assured: We develop skills and work experience for in-demand roles.
  • Employer engagement: We engage the sponsoring employers throughout training lifecycle to ensure match of skills to jobs and assure employment. Employers enrich the training experience.
  • Public participation and support: We welcome government groups to support, sponsor and participate throughout the program.
  • Career Success Assured: We leverage industry leaders to assess and ensure the work environment and culture where students are employed maximizes their success short and long term.
  • Financially Viable:  The program is free to participants and financially beneficial for all stakeholders. 
  • Benefits All:  Delivered through an innovative partnership ecosystem in  which all (governments, employers, service providers, and  people with disabilities all benefit.  It transforms lives.

Summary and Next Steps:
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.  Candidates with disabilities often lack “employable skills” that limit their employment potential.  The Bridge Academy builds employable skills which unlocks potential and transforms lives.   It is a proven program achieving very high success rates.  It benefits all stakeholders.  

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

Questions and Further Information:

If you have questions, or would like more information please contact:

Patrick Romzek,

Links to Success Stories:

Cisco LifeChanger:

Zero Project Vienna Austria ICT Academy:

NYC AbilITy Academy:

The Nigel Floris Story:

Cisco Blog on NYC Prototype:

Detroit Exceptional Academy:

Bridge Academy Program Presentation to the International Labour Organization November 21, 2019: