Since its inception in 2013, BIT's vision has been to help reduce the excessively high unemployment rate among the disability population.
People who are blind or visually impaired or have other disabilities such as hearing loss, intellectual disability or are neurodivergent, are more than two times more likely to be unemployed and as a result they are more likely to live in persistent poverty. These numbers are especially true for women because there's only two women with disabilities employed for every three men.
The only way to change those statistics is by changing assumptions and by changing the level of access to technology.
Preparation and staffing services focus on IT and other technical positions, with candidates placed in healthcare, financial services, technology, and government jobs. BIT has also reached over 7,000 community and company individuals participating in BIT educational and outreach presentations, Art of Blinders, Train the Trainer and customizable workshop topics, 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. In 2019 Mike was recognized as an Inclusive Leader in the Nonprofit sector at the GlobalMindED conference. His impact among many leaders who are making a difference for women, people of color, First Gen to College, and underrepresented populations is certainly award material. The conference focuses on the leaders on the ground who work with others to create equity across the education, employment, and economic mobility pipeline.
In addition, Mike was selected as a speaker at the 2019 Colorado Smart Cities Symposium hosted by the Colorado Technology Association. Smarter communities hold the promise of not just making communities more efficient but also improving quality of life. Mike, along with fellow panelists, explored strategies that ensure these benefits are equitable across all citizens. In July 2020, in celebration of the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Mike was named to Diversability's inaugural 2020 D-30 Disability Impact List.
And most recently, BIT and its Executive Director were honored at Dreamforce23, Salesforce’s annual conference, where Mike was recognized as a Trailblazer in the disability community and was presented with the prestigious Golden Hoodie for his work in founding BIT and advancing disability employment.