ALEXANDRIA, Va., March 30, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- NSITE, a new talent management enterprise that connects employers seeking to diversify their workforce with job seekers who are blind or visually impaired, announced today the receipt of a $95,700 grant from the Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation (MEAF) to fund NSITE's Cisco Academy training program. This initiative, which is in the midst of a successful pilot program, will provide people who are blind or visually impaired a sought-after opportunity to enter the cybersecurity industry and secure a Cisco Certified Network Associates (CCNA) certification, an industry-recognized standard for IT expertise. This budding, two-year relationship with MEAF will strengthen NSITE's capabilities and empower the enterprise to offer economic opportunities to people who are blind or visually impaired, with a focus on young adults within this community.
"When we launched NSITE this year, we made a commitment to provide solutions for employers and job seekers alike," said Kevin Lynch, President and CEO of National Industries for the Blind (NIB), the umbrella organization of NSITE. "Now, in partnership with organizations like the Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation, we can make that goal an attainable reality. The Cisco Academy is going to lead to real career opportunities and growth for an entire group of overlooked Americans."
The Cisco Academy offers an accessible training program, adapted to educate individuals who are blind, that ensures students are prepared for the cybersecurity workforce. Support is not limited to purely technical skills; throughout the program, students participate in classes focused on resume writing, networking, mock interviews, and more. Upon completion, participants receive a CCNA certification and, for many, immediate job placement. Throughout the program, NSITE's workforce development team will connect with top employers to ensure graduates have career opportunities upon completion. Once the graduate is placed, NSITE supports both the new hire and the employer to ensure workplace accessibility and overall employee career success.
"This support from MEAF will further NSITE's goal to prepare participants to pass the CCNA exam and take their careers in any direction they wish," said Jonathan Lucus, head of NSITE. "The virtual program will open so many doors, and I'm thrilled to report that last month participants received their first round of test scores and the class average was 94.5%. This class is well on their way to achieving this career-changing certification."
NSITE's primary goal is to decrease the unemployment rate of people who are blind or visually impaired—the Cisco Academy is an invaluable tool toward advancing that mission. Misconceptions about the capabilities of people who are blind or visually impaired keep unemployment rates high for this largely untapped workforce—according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' Current Population Survey, nearly 70 percent of working-age Americans who are blind are not employed. The Cisco Academy seeks to remedy that, offering in-demand skills training and certification to people who are blind or visually impaired and connecting them with employers. MEAF's partnership will help this vital initiative's goal become fully realized.
"Our goal is to empower youth with disabilities," says Kevin R. Webb, Senior Director of the Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation. "By supporting the NSITE Cisco Academy, we can help demonstrate that individuals who are blind or visually impaired are a capable and reliable source of talent to fill vital, in-demand cybersecurity jobs."
NSITE is an enterprise of National Industries for the Blind (NIB), the nation's largest employment resource for people who are blind. To learn more about the service offerings NSITE provides to both employers and job seekers, visit NSITE.org.
NSITE provides a continuum of employment services that connect employers with talented, dedicated people who are blind, visually impaired, and/or veterans to meet their workforce needs. NSITE works with employers and job seekers alike to provide support throughout the career life cycle. Learn more at NSITE.org.
About Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation (MEAF)
The Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation, based in the Washington, DC area, was established in 1991 by Mitsubishi Electric Corporation and the Mitsubishi Electric U.S. companies, which produce, sell, and distribute a wide range of consumer, industrial, commercial and professional electronics products. The Foundation has contributed more than $20 million to organizations that are empowering young people with disabilities to lead more inclusive and productive lives. Learn more at MEAF.org.