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Blind Institute of Technology

The Blind Institute of Technology offers services to those with disabilities, particularly the blind and visually impaired, that reduce barriers to inclusive employment through education, preparation, employment placement and accessible technology initiatives.

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BIT Academy

Class

Education 

Beneficiaries

Blind & Vision Impaired
People/Families with of People with Disabilities
People/Families with of People with Physical Disabilities
Unemployed, Underemployed
Young Adults (20-25 years)

Description

The agency mission at BIT is simple but powerful: Prepare the blind and visually impaired, and the employers who hire them, for success in the workplace. Staff at BIT fundamentally believe that companies are missing out on some of the best and brightest talent available in the country today. It means that talented individuals are left to live off public welfare programs, rather than being afforded the opportunity to put their skills to work and earn a living wage.

BIT's signature program, BIT Academy goes beyond basic job preparation and acquisition skills such as interviewing techniques and resume-building by paving the way into the technical professional ranks for workers with disabilities via high-level certification programs. Salesforce Administrator certification training, for example, was mostly limited to sighted individuals or only very persistent BVIs able to adapt to an inflexible learning modality. BIT has designed and tested accessible technology to allow BVIs to acquire this coveted credential for Salesforce certification. Credentialing does more than facilitate job placement. It elevates the ranks of the underemployed who although they may have a job, are not maximizing the full scope of their workforce potential.

Google Suite technology training as well as other accessibility training has also been provided. These trainings spearheaded by BIT are just the first steps towards a broader scale push to implement similar measures for all individuals living with disabilities and BIT is committed to this onward direction.

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Evidence of Program's Success

In five short years, BIT has provided job preparation services to more than 500 BVI candidates and successfully placed more than 90 BVI individuals in employment with an almost perfect retention rate (only 1.5% of workers to date have not been retained in their jobs after three, six, or twelve months). Preparation and staffing services focus on IT and other technical positions, with candidates thus far being placed in healthcare, financial services, technology, government and other sectors. In 2017 BIT directly served 230 BVI individuals with job training and preparation, job placement, and certification/training programs.

BIT Workforce Program

Class

Employment 

Beneficiaries

Blind & Vision Impaired
Disabled
People/Families with of People with Disabilities
People/Families with of People with Physical Disabilities
Unemployed, Underemployed

Description

Despite efforts to increase inclusivity in the workplace, BVI individuals continue to struggle with stigma and perception around their ability to get the job done. The supply-demand gap is exacerbated by the shortage of credentialed workers to fill available jobs. The BIT Workforce program prepares candidates for success in the workplace with activities such as resume building, job interviewing skills and education around accessible technologies.

It also educates corporate and government agencies on the value of hiring BVI individuals and guides employers in making their workplaces receptive and technologically accessible to BVI workers. This includes the "Art of Blinders" training to creatively bridge the gap of understanding by teaching more than 2,000 sighted individuals to date on what it feels like to be blind and to hone their listening skills.

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Evidence of Program's Success

Since 2013, BIT has provided job preparation services to more than 500 BVI candidates and successfully placed more than 100 BVIs in meaningful employment. Preparation and staffing services focus on IT and other technical positions, with candidates placed in healthcare, financial services, technology, government, and other Colorado state priority sectors.

BIT has also reached 4,000 community and company individuals participating in BIT educational sessions, Art of Blinders, which helps increase awareness and inclusivity in the workplace. In 2017, BIT was recognized with a Martin Luther King Business Award and a first-ever Department of Labor and Employment, Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Shining Stars of VR award. The award honors people and organizations moving the needle in reshaping the employment landscape for people living with disabilities.

Little BIT

Class

Youth Development 

Beneficiaries

Adolescents/Youth (13-19 years)
Blind & Vision Impaired
Children (4-12 years)
Disabled
Teachers

Description

LittleBIT seeks to improve the K 12 educational experience for BVI andother students living with a disability by helping to develop, train, and deploy assistive technology in the schools so that children grow up with the same level of opportunity as sighted children.

LittleBIT also includes internships for older youth. In 2019, BIT will place a minimum of five youth in workplace internships paired with a trained mentor who will provide one on one and group support to these students. This type of opportunity not only teaches youth important skills to successfully transition to adulthood and independence, but it paves the way into the professional ranks for youth living with disabilities and elevates the ranks of the underemployed who although they may have a job, are not maximizing the full scope of their workforce potential.

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Evidence of Program's Success

SinceLittleBIT is in its first year, we are rolling out and finalizing the agency's current pilot at Golden High School, which will form the basis for scaling the program at other schools across the metro area, the state, and nation over the next three to five years.

Key aspects of this profile information have been reviewed by Community First Foundation staff. Each organization is exclusively responsible for the content that appears on the profile page. Community First Foundation offers general guidance as to the purpose of each area but does not require or encourage charities to include anything in particular in each section.