Microsoft Accessibility Lighthouse Program at Champaign- Urbana

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Oscar Smith, Publisher/ HIP Champaign

First of all of course we're excited that this exciting alliance in play, The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is partnering with Microsoft on a new program to promote digitally accessible classrooms, encourage the creation and use of accessible software, and provide a pipeline to careers in technology for Illinois students who have autism. Microsoft is investing $200,000 into the Accessibility Lighthouse Program.

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is partnering with Microsoft on a new program to promote digitally accessible classrooms, encourage the creation and use of accessible software, and provide a pipeline to careers in technology for Illinois students who have autism. Microsoft is investing $200,000 into the Accessibility Lighthouse Program.

"Microsoft is launching its Accessibility Lighthouse Program, an initiative that aims to support [University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign] students on the autism spectrum to pursue STEM roles and increase the employment of these students at the company. Microsoft, in partnership with The Autism Program TAP - UIUC Champaign Urbana and the University of Illinois College of ACES, is investing $200,000 in the project....'Microsoft has identified 16 universities that they have considered major pipelines for their tech jobs and University of Illinois is number one or number two in that pipeline in general for being really well-prepared,' said Linda Tortorelli [coordinator of The Autism Program at the University]. 'They want to improve the pipeline for people on the autism spectrum because they know they are getting a good technical education.'Within the last three years, large corporations such as Microsoft, Chase, SAP and Ernst & Young have begun hiring initiatives for people on the autism spectrum. They recognize that people on the spectrum bring a unique problem-solving perspective. Additionally, these corporations have identified that traditional hiring practices often exclude people on the spectrum from being successful in these fields."

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