Melwood, a non-profit organization that provides job training and other assistance to people with special needs, has launched a program that prepares injured veterans and individuals with autism and other special needs for jobs in cyber-security.
According to a report this month by Fox5DC.com, the new program, Abilit, involves a twelve-week training process that helps people on the autism spectrum utilize their strengths for positions in cyber-security. Candidates are taught how to write resumes, shake hands, introduce themselves, and conduct elevator speeches.
“People of differing abilities represent one of the most promising and readily available cyber-security workforce pipelines in the nation,” Cari DeSantis, Melwood’s President and CEO, said, according to the company’s website. “We have two problems that can solve each other: under-employment of people of differing abilities and the inability to fill tech jobs.”
Melwood notes that, according to the Department of Commerce, the U.S. is likely to have half a million unfilled cyber-security positions by 2021. At the same time, only four out of ten people with special needs are employed, and 30 million adults with special needs are struggling to find employment.
As part of the Abilit initiative, Melwood has partnered with Cybrary, an industry leader in cyber-security and the largest online course in cyber-security in the U.S.
“It’s incredibly exciting to have Cybrary on board,” DeSantis was quoted as saying in a report by Wtop.com. “It demonstrates that the technology industry is thinking ahead and saying ‘yes’ to including people of differing abilities.”
DeSantis added that he hoped Melwood would translate education into actual career opportunities for people with special needs.
“Inclusion drives innovation,” he said. “Education policy and technology have laid the groundwork for an inclusive workforce by making classrooms accessible to people of differing abilities. But education alone hasn’t translated to jobs. Melwood can help bridge the gap between the classroom and the office.”