In 2020, Microsoft launched the APAC Enabler Program to enhance the employability of people with disabilities (PwDs) in the Asia Pacific. It has now announced the expansion of this strategy by announcing the launch of the APAC Enabler Mentorship program.
Now, people with disabilities will receive career coaching along with a relevant mentor based on their area of specialization who will coach them, be their advocate and recommend them for roles over a period of 12 months, as well as teach interview skills and help with job matching.
Two years ago, the Microsoft APAC Enabler Program started as a pilot in five markets, with six non-profit organizations and 14 employer partners. It has now expanded across the region and now covers nine countries, 13 non-profits, and 27 organizations. The program has trained more than 7,000 participants, conducted more than 150 hours worth of Disability Inclusive Hiring workshops, organized consultations with experts for more than 530 PwDs, and enabled roles and internships for more than 350 PwDs.
"Mentors are the key to success for every professional. A good mentor is a coach, a guide, as well as a vocal advocate," says Pratima Amonkar, board chair of Microsoft Diversity & Inclusion, and head of APAC Cloud & AI Business Strategy.
"In a pilot program with three NPOs: SG Enable, Tomowork, and Virtualahan, and an educational institution, Temasek Polytechnic, the Microsoft APAC Enabler Mentorship program successfully enabled more than 75 PwDs to receive coaching.
"This program is that crucial next step to improving diversity in hiring across the Asia Pacific and I'm so proud to see our incredible partners step up to be the voice of inclusion and commit to inclusive hiring at a time when the pandemic has been the hardest on marginalized communities."
The Enabler Program has expanded to three more markets. Difalink (Indonesia), National Disability Commission (Indonesia), Biji Biji (Malaysia), The Rose International Foundation for Children (Nepal), and Ability Development Society of Nepal (ADSoN) are the NPOs from Indonesia, Malaysia, and Nepal joining South Korea, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, and Thailand in building capabilities, educating, and improving the employability of PwDs.