The Microsoft Enabler Program launched today pioneers disability inclusive workplaces across Asia Pacific by removing the barriers for a more diverse workforce.
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.
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 persons with disabilities 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”.
Microsoft will provide online training in data engineering and programming, cloud computing on Microsoft Azure and application development in GitHub to persons with disabilities. 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.
“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.
On developing an inclusive culture, Raymond Zheng, a former Microsoft intern says, “It is not just about trying to integrate a group of people with disabilities. But rather, it is a mindset that regardless of who you are or what you have, you would not feel different from others.”
These NPOs will provide education and training to the employer partners to help them learn about working with persons with disabilities, offer inputs on workplace modifications they may need to be an accessible employer, and guidance on mentoring persons with disabilities.