Microsoft, Non-Profits and employer partners launch program to increase employability for people with disabilities in Asia Pacific

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The first of its kind, the Microsoft Enabler Program provides cloud & AI training for PwDs, accessibility education for employer partners, and inclusive hiring from non-profit organizations supporting PwDs.

 

SINGAPORE – Media
OutReach
 – 9 September
2020 – The
Microsoft Enabler Program launched
today pioneers disability inclusive workplaces across Asia Pacific by removing
the barriers for a more diverse workforce. With more than 1 billion people with
disabilities (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 2020.

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Organizations committed to the program will
receive training from the Non-Profit organizations (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 NPO’s. Microsoft will provide industry required training in cloud &
artificial intelligence, as well as a platform for all three to collaborate towards
an inclusive future for every person.

 

“In today’s workplace, it is imperative that we include everyone,
and accessibility is the vehicle to inclusion. It is a responsibility and an
opportunity. There are no limits to what people can achieve when technology
reflects the diversity of everyone who uses it,” said Vivek Puthucode, Chief Partner Officer at
Microsoft in Asia Pacific. “Inclusive organizations outperform their peers and
attract and keep top talent, and we have seen how inclusion drives innovation”.

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Skills and Knowledge

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 recognized, and highly sought after in our digital first and remote
everything world, therefore providing them with a learning path for industry
leading skillsets 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.

 

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“At the
heart of the Microsoft Enabler Program is a comprehensive accessibility model
that will not only improve inclusion of people with disabilities across Asia
Pacific for years to come; it also connects to local talent from
underrepresented communities and improves our society,” continued Vivek.

 

The Non-Profit
Organizations:

1.    
Be.
Lab (New Zealand)

2.    
JA
Korea

3.     KODAF (Korea Differently Abled Federation)

4.    
SG
Enable (Singapore)

5.    
The
Redemptorist Foundation for People with Disabilities (Thailand)

6.    
Virtualahan
(Philippines)

These NPOs will
provide education and training to the employer partners to help them learn
about working with PwDs, offer inputs on workplace modifications they may need
to be an accessible employer, and guidance on mentoring PwDs.

 

The
employer partners:

1.    
Cloocus
(Korea)

2.     Cognizant Technology Solutions (Singapore,
Philippines)

3.     Crayon (Singapore, Philippines)

4.     Datacom (New Zealand)

5.     DXC Technology (New Zealand)

6.     ePLDT (Philippines)

7.     HCL Technologies (Singapore, Malaysia,
Philippines, New Zealand)

8.     Ingram Micro Asia (Singapore)

9.     Metanet Tplatform (Korea)

10.  Nexus Tech (Philippines)

11.  NTT Asia Pacific

12.  NTT Data (Singapore, Philippines)

13.  Tech Data (Singapore)

14.  Wipro (Singapore, Philippines, Thailand)

These
organizations, in addition to receiving training from the NPOs on creating
inclusive workplaces, will also accelerate their disability inclusion program
by completing Accessibility Fundamentals, the course by Microsoft Learn which provides
guidance on inclusive design principles and leveraging assistive technology.

 

“2020
has been a difficult year for everyone and when we look at the incredible
number of businesses and governments who have pivoted to cloud with Microsoft
in the region, tech roles and digital skills will be the backbone of the
economic recovery every country. And one of the ways we can enable an inclusive
recovery is by empowering every person and every business with technology
skills,” he continued.

 

Engaging PwDs in the Workplace

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 NPO’s 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. At Microsoft, our vision and strategy of accessibility was to embed
inclusive, accessible design into the fabric of the company. And we want to
enable every organization to be inclusive,” concluded Vivek.

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Enabling the Employment of PwDs

To expand
the talent pipeline for partners and connect job-seeking PwDs to tech roles, the
program will also feature a virtual job fair, held at the end of second quarter
of 2021, that brings together the 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. In addition to job matching, the virtual event will include educational sessions
about accessibility in the workplace, assistive technology as well as training,
support and tools to help organizations sustain their accessibility programs.

 

Learn about
the four-module Microsoft Learn course on Accessibility Fundamentals here and Accessibility Technology and Tools here.

 

Non-profit
organization quotes

 

Minnie
Baragwanath, Founder & Chief Possibility Officer, Be. Lab, New Zealand

“At Be. Lab and the Global Centre of Possibility we are delighted to be
working alongside the team at Microsoft and their partners on such a critical
programme to advance access and employment in Aotearoa and the wider Asia
Pacific. Access citizens are an untapped pool of talent that bring a unique set
of skills to forward-thinking, 21st century workplaces such as
problem-solving, agility, persistence, and innovation.”

 

Moonhwan
Yuh, Executive Director of JA Korea

“Creativeness comes from
diversity and people with disability is another form of diversity. Microsoft
has been partnering with JA Korea for inclusive education and now advancing the
program to inclusive hiring where the workplace will be more creative place.”


GongYeol,
Choi, President and CEO Of Korea Differently Abled Federation, Korea

The world around us is rapidly
becoming more diverse. It is critically important to understand the world in
which we live and work and how we can value diversity and foster inclusion. By
partnering with Microsoft, we believe that we can accelerate an inclusive
global economy where people with disabilities participate fully and
meaningfully.


Mr Tan Ko We, Assistant Chief Executive, SG Enable,
Singapore

“Work is dignity and employment empowers people with disabilities to lead
fulfilling lives. Microsoft has been offering mentorship, internship and
employment opportunities for persons with disabilities and recently shared
their best practices at SG Enable’s Inclusive Business Forum.  We look forward to strengthening our
continued partnership with Microsoft to further empower companies in Singapore
with the necessary knowledge and skills to hire persons with disabilities and
to build a more inclusive workforce for the future.”

 

Narong
Rattanasopa, The Redemptorist Foundation for People with Disabilities, Thailand

“Life with a disability
in Thailand can be a daily struggle that can include discrimination. A person
may not be able to access a place of learning or a place of work, therefore PwDs
people are left to simply exist at home. Microsoft has supported us for many
years with trainings and software, now with increasing support of employment
opportunity. We’re thankful to Microsoft for ensuring that people with
disabilities can have better jobs and importantly, better living.”

 

Ryan Gersava, Founder and President of Virtualahan
Inc., Philippines

“Our experience taught us that Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) are
positive investments. Together with Microsoft, we train them for competitive
employment in the digital economy. Employers especially noted their loyalty and
passion for learning; jobs liberate them from the destructive impact of poverty
and low self-esteem. Unfortunately, the PWDs are already left behind because of
outdated labour practices in the Philippines. The impact of 4IR and COVID-19
could push down even further unless we act now by making inclusive hiring the
new normal.”

Press images are available at
this link
here.

About Microsoft

Microsoft
(Nasdaq “MSFT” @microsoft) enables digital transformation for the era of an
intelligent cloud and an intelligent edge. Its mission is to empower every
person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.

Microsoft, Non-Profits and employer partners launch program to increase employability for people with disabilities in Asia Pacific

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