Participants of Microsoft’s Enabler Program are proving that with strong support and equal access to employment, Persons with Disabilities can contribute meaningfully to the Philippines’ economy and society.
The Microsoft Enabler Program was launched in September 2020 to pioneer disability inclusive workplaces across Asia-Pacific by removing the barriers for a more diverse workforce. A first of its kind globally, the program provides cloud & AI training for Persons with Disabilities, accessibility education for employer partners and inclusive hiring from non-profit organizations (NPOs) supporting Persons with Disabilities.
In addition to trainings and resources, the program provides Tech Consult sessions that Persons with Disabilities can join to be connected to Microsoft volunteer technical subject matter experts to enhance their knowledge and skills.
Key to the Microsoft Enabler Program’s efforts in the Philippines is Microsoft’s partnership with local non-profit social enterprise, Virtualahan. They are a for-impact organization that provides trainings to commercial partners on how to become inclusive employers and pools potential candidates for vacancies within the organization.
In the Philippines, the Microsoft Enabler Program has successfully provided full-time employment opportunities for three individuals: Ritchell Anne de Loyola, Zeus Exequiel Seth Oliveros and Jefferson Cortez.
Ten years ago, Ritchell Anne de Loyola was diagnosed with a chronic illness that resulted in a physical disability that forced her to step away from her career. “I could not walk, and I needed to use a wheelchair for several years.”
However, she was undeterred and went on to pursue online digital skills training through Virtualahan. This brought new life to her career, first as a bookkeeper then as a finance officer. Today, Ritchell works for Microsoft and is a Program Manager of the Microsoft Enabler Program, advocating for inclusivity for others like her who have disabilities.
Another successful placement through the Microsoft Enabler Program is Zeus Exequiel Seth Oliveros, who has an orthopedic condition that causes mobility dysfunctions. Zeus was hired by Cognizant Technology Solutions Philippines, a partner company, last year as a data analyst.
Finally, Jefferson Cortez, who joined HCL Technologies earlier this month as an Accessibility Engineer. Jefferson is Hard-of-Hearing (HOH) and has been passionate about helping others with the same condition for over twenty years, as a professional sign language interpreter and conducting sensitivity trainings for communities and individuals on how to deal and communicate with the deaf or HOH. With HCL Technologies, he is able to expand his efforts even more, as he is involved in making sure their apps and solutions are accessible and inclusive to Persons with Disabilities.
Currently, the Microsoft Enabler Program has eight commercial partners in the Philippines: Cognizant Technology Solutions, ePLDT, HCL Technologies, Nexus Tech, NTT Data, Wipro, Crayon and the newest addition, DDLS Philippines.
Microsoft aims to continuously grow this collection of commercial partners and non-profit organizations, in order to bring inclusive opportunities and digital skills to more Filipino Persons with Disabilities across the nation.