Keywords: United States, employment, vocational training, digital skills

IT Training Academy for Persons with Disabilities 

Three Talents, a consultancy from the U.S., launched an IT Academy for persons with disabilities that creates employable skills leading to high paying jobs and meaningful careers in the booming ICT Industry. The initial training course in New York City is in cybersecurity, certified by Cisco Systems, and delivered by an innovative public and private partnership. The model can easily be replicated across the U.S. and elsewhere.

About the practice at a glance
Name of OrganisationThree Talents
Type of organisationConsultancy
of Implementation
United States
Year started2017
Funding modelTuition fee funded by government agencies. Sponsorship from employers. Grants from foundations


An IT Academy for persons with disabilities that creates employable skills that lead to high paying jobs and careers in the Information Technology industry. The program is delievered through an innovative program ecosystem of public and private partnership that creates certified cyber-security skills. In the prototype at Cisco, nearly 100 people were hired under this model. In the New York City prototype, 94% of previously unemployed candidates graduated and are in the process of being hired. 


We asked projects to outline their impact model (also called Theory of Change) – their main target groups, the key activities they offer these target groups, and what impact they want to achieve:

Target GroupActivityImpact
Government AgenciesFunders and sponsors

Aligns to their mission, spending on this now, opportunity for greater impact
Service AgenciesOrchestration and ready for work trainingAligns to their mission, opportunity for greater impact
EmployersSponsor, Engage and FundingWe engage employers proactively to be involved in the program, provide sponsorship, guest lecturers and help with start up costs.


It started as a program at Cisco Systems and after I retired, the City of NY asked me to help set up a program with the Mayor’s Office for Persons with Disabilities (MOPD). It is being replicated now in Michigan and Massachusetts and was also prototyped in Austria with the Essl Foundation. Discussions are ongoing to replicate in Florida, Pennsylvania, California and London. 

The replication model is public/private partnership that is self-sustaining and mutually beneficial to all: 

  • Government agencies fund the core tuition from existing government job training or retraiing programs 
  • Employers who want access to the talent pool provide sponsorship funding and also contribute as program stakeholders.  
  • Private foundations provide subsidies, grants and scholarships as this helps them achieve their mission
  • Non-profits or educators contribute resources 
  • Free to students. 


The organization is small, so part of the replication strategy will be to build a partner ecosystem in each market to replicate this program. My team will provide the leadership and plan to develop partners in each market that will collaborate to deliver it. All partners benefit financially, from a brand perspective and from mission alignment. 


The main motivation is scaling this programme to other countries and creating awareness of the program and its potential, as every country has a disability employment problem. At the same time companies are seeking entry level talent for IT roles.