Microsoft launches program to boost employability of differently-abled | Sunday Observer

Microsoft launches program to boost employability of differently-abled

20 September, 2020

Microsoft  launched a program to increase employability for people with disabilities (PwDs) recently. The Microsoft Enabler Program pioneers disability inclusive workplaces across Asia Pacific by removing the barriers for a more diverse workforce.

With over one billion PwDs in the world, disability-inclusive employment can lead to 1-7% rise in GDP in Asia Pacific through increased economic productivity. (United Nations ESCAP)

The program will pilot in five markets: Korea, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand, before expanding to the rest of the region by the end of this year. 

Organisations committed to the program will receive training from the Non-Profit organisations (NPOs) to become inclusive employers and these businesses will in turn provide job shadowing, internships, mentoring and opportunities in tech jobs for PwDs identified by the NPOs.

Microsoft will provide industry training in cloud and artificial intelligence, and a platform for all three to collaborate towards an inclusive future for every person. 

“There are no limits to what people can achieve when technology reflects the diversity of everyone who uses it,” said  Chief Partner Officer at Microsoft in Asia Pacific, Vivek Puthucode.

Microsoft will provide online training in data engineering and programming, cloud computing on Microsoft Azure and application development in GitHub to the PwDs. These modules will provide crucial technology skills that are globally recognised, and highly sought after in our digital first and remote everything world, therefore, providing them with a learning path for industry leading skill sets that improves their employability. For the employer partners, Microsoft will conduct workshops on inclusive design and assistive technologies enabled through artificial intelligence on Microsoft Azure.Microsoft’s partners in the region commit to providing opportunities for PwDs by providing job shadowing, training, mentoring and internship attachments in technical roles. These opportunities will be offered in close collaboration with the NGOs who will match the most suitable PwD profile, skills, qualifications, and ambitions with the requirements of the role.

“Accessibility starts with building a culture of inclusion in the workplace. The more you focus on it, the more your culture will improve and evolve.

The company culture and workplace environment are important elements of a successful accessibility program,” said Puthucode.

To expand the talent pipeline for partners and connect job-seeking PwDs to tech roles, the program will also feature a virtual job fair, at the end of second quarter of 2021, that brings together Microsoft partners and NPOs. PwDs can use the opportunity to showcase their skills, experience from their job attachments and interests, while businesses share roles available to connect with potential hires. The virtual event will also include educational sessions about accessibility in the workplace, assistive technology and training, support and tools to help organisations sustain their accessibility programs.