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

 |   Bob Glancy

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

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 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.

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

Organisations 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 people 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 organisations outperform their peers and attract and keep top talent, and we have seen how inclusion drives innovation”.

Skills and Knowledge

Microsoft will provide online training in data engineering and programming, cloud computing on Microsoft Azure and application development in GitHub to people with disabilities. 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 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.

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 people with disabilities, offer inputs on workplace modifications they may need to be an accessible employer, and guidance on mentoring.

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 organisations, 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 People with Disabilities in the Workplace

Microsoft’s partners in the region commit to providing opportunities for people with disabilities 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 people with disabilities 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 organisation to be inclusive,” concluded Vivek. 

Enabling the Employment of People with Disabilities

To expand the talent pipeline for partners and connect job-seeking people with disabilities 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. People with disabilities 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 organisations sustain their accessibility programs.

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


For more information, please contact:

Microsoft Asia Pacific

Supriya Addanki

[email protected]

Edelman for Microsoft Asia Pacific

Doreen Ang

[email protected]


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 organisation on the planet to achieve more.


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