The first-ever graduate class and instructors of the BIT Academy in 2017 features Ethan Holliger (3rd from right) and Mike Hess (4th from right).

Ethan Holliger Was One of First-Ever Graduates from the BIT Academy™ in 2017

DENVER, CO., November 23, 2021 – Ethan Holliger is part of the team ensuring that CVS Health is making sure its digital presence is available to people of all abilities including the more than 60 million Americans living with some sort of disability.  He works with the CVS designs systems team in developing reusable components and patterns to customize the website that reports more than 100M visitors for this more than $250B corporation.

He was also one of the first-ever graduates of the Blind Institute of Technology’s BIT Academy™ launched in 2017.  Holliger was living in Toledo, Ohio and heard about the BIT Academy™, so travelled nearly 1,000 miles to attend because it was one of the only programs designed specifically for professionals with disabilities (PWD) seeking to upscale careers and training.

“If you know Mike Hess, then you know he can be very persuasive,” said Holliger.  “He is the one who encouraged me to travel to Denver, and in addition to great training, the Academy also provided important networking, interviewing skills and valuable skills in presenting myself to employers,” he said.  “That leap of faith to try something new has paid off,” he said.

It certainly has, as has Holliger’s work ethic and intellect.  He graduated from the University of Toledo with a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science and Engineering Technology and has held key engineering and assistive technology positions including at the University of Toledo where he supported their accessibility testing and course training.  “But I wanted to take my career even further,” he said.  “And the BIT Academy™ provided me with technical training and perhaps even more importantly, valuable skills in networking, interviewing and more,” he added.

“Ethan is certainly one of our star first-ever graduates of the BIT Academy™,” said Mike Hess, Founder and Executive Director of BIT.  “He has been instrumental in the accessibility space for companies in both Ohio and Denver, and now for CVS, and will continue to be critical as companies plan for this important market,” he said.

With more than 60 million Americans living with some sort of disability, digital accessibility solutions is a thriving field, and especially as companies drive innovation, ensure they are complying with legal requirements, and provide value to current and potential customers.

Hess launched the Blind Institute of Technology in 2013 to ensure people with disabilities reach their professional goals and for companies to see the enormous value that people of all abilities bring to the workforce.

He then launched the BIT Academy™  in 2016, and since has worked with 70 students, with 50% graduating and 20 of whom were hired directly in professional positions.  Each of the students were accepted using grants and donations and none of the students were asked to pay tuition.  The organization recently received funding from the State of Colorado and Salesforce to expand the student capacity to engage even more students like Holliger.  Hess is already expanding the BIT Academy with a virtual cohort in the UK starting in 2022.

The BIT Academy™ and its instructors now provide virtual classes over 12-13 weeks.  The courses create a foundational understanding for students including those who want to go on to gain Salesforce certification as well as additional skills to succeed in interviewing and corporate work environments.

Holliger has made Denver his home now, alongside his guide dog Brandon.  He is also one of the athletes on the Blind Bowling League, and has never let inabilities get in the way of his abilities.

“Professionals with disabilities like Ethan possess skills and abilities that corporations have overlooked or have yet to discover,” he said.  “Ethan is a shining example of how someone becomes a technology rock star,” added Hess.  “He is an amazing success story,” he added.

To support BIT’s program, please donate to the organization or learn more about how employers could hire from BIT’s team of professionals.