Through a Request for Expressions of Interest (RFEI), the New York City Economic Development Corporation (EDC) and the Office of the Mayor of New York City awarded New York Institute of Technology and its partner, the Institute of Career Development (ICD), a $70,620 grant to conduct research and develop strategies for training individuals with disabilities in technology fields.
There is a growing need for talent in cybersecurity, fintech, digital technologies, data management, web development, IT, and networking and programming. While opportunities to fill these tech jobs are increasing, there are few prospects for individuals with disabilities. According to a 2014 American Community Survey, there are nearly one million New Yorkers who have disclosed living with a disability. Of this population, 77 percent are jobless compared to 4.3 percent of all New Yorkers. Through this grant, New York City aims to increase the workforce in these fields.
A team of New York Tech faculty and staff as well as ICD personnel wrote a report that targets best practices in training individuals 21 years and older and address various types of disabilities, including long-term physical disabilities and chronic health conditions such as blindness, deafness, and vision and hearing limitations; learning disabilities and other intellectual disabilities including Autism spectrum disorder and ADHD; and psychiatric and psychological disorders such as chronic depression and social anxiety.
Their research and ensuing report focuses on evidence-based practices for training these individuals, including technology training programs, ensuring they have the foundational skills to succeed in their career path, and preparing them for the transition to and retention of employment. It also focuses on capacity building, in particular teachers who have both technology skills and the expertise to teach individuals with disabilities.
The university has a long record of offering services to people with disabilities. For 30 years, the NYIT Vocational Independence Program (VIP) helped young adults with learning differences and Autism spectrum diagnoses live fulfilling lives on their own.