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This is the place to find out the latest on Blind Institute of Technology and how we’re reshaping the landscape of employment and accessibility for the blind and visually impaired!

Martin Luther King, Jr. Business Awards to Honor Blind Institute of Technology

Non-Profit Organization Tackling High Unemployment among Blind and Visually Impaired Being Recognized for Adhering to the Ideals of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

DENVER, Colo. – Dec. 2, 2016 – Celebrating ‘Content of Character’ the Blind Institute of Technology (BIT) is among the 32nd annual Martin Luther King Business Awards recipients that will be honored at a luncheon on January 13, 2017 at the Marriott City Center in downtown Denver.
Every year since 1986, the local business community has come together on the Friday before the national and Colorado holiday to recognize individuals, corporations and non-profit organizations in honor of their commitment to the values of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as evidenced by their exemplary social responsibility./h6>
“The Blind Institute of Technology is tremendously excited and proud to be a 2017 Martin Luther King, Jr. Business Awards recipient,” said BIT Founder and Executive Director Mike Hess. “I feel humbled and honored to accept this prestigious award in front of Gov. John Hickenlooper, other award winners and luncheon attendees. BIT has worked tirelessly for nearly four years to advance diversity and inclusion in the workplace and cultivate opportunities for those in the blind and visually impaired (BVI) community to obtain meaningful employment. Our hard work is paying off, however we have much more to accomplish.”
Proceeds from the luncheon will be donated to Denver Urban Scholars (DUS), who will select and award Martin Luther King, Jr. Scholarships to under-served, minority and non-traditional Colorado students. DUS partners with Metropolitan State University of Denver, University of Colorado at Denver and Community College of Denver. Each of these institutions matches the DUS funds dollar-for-dollar to double the total amount of the scholarship funds awarded.
The 2017 Martin Luther King, Jr. Business Awards luncheon is open to the general public. To make reservations, visit www.MLKBusinessAwards.org or call 720-512-9240.
 About the Blind Institute of Technology
Founded in 2013, the Blind Institute of Technology is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that offers solutions-based programs aimed at achieving its mission of reducing the excessively high unemployment and underemployment rate among the BVI community by preparing BIT candidates and the employers who hire them for long-term success. To learn more, visit www.blindinstituteoftechnology.org and connect with BIT on Facebook, @BlindInstituteT and LinkedIn.
Blind Institute of Technology Contact
Paul Lonnegren
Pulse8 PR
(720) 470-7488 plonnegren@pulse8pr.com

Blind man Uber-ing: One man’s quest to get visually impaired a tech job
A blind man’s mission to help others find tech jobs attracts Uber, which is offering free rides to job interviews

August 14, 2016
Denver Post
Mike Hess using Uber App

Photo by RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post

Uber Colorado Partners with Blind Institute of Technology to Provide Free Rides for Blind and Visually Impaired Job Seekers

A Tap of the Uber App Removes Employment Barrier

DENVER, Colo. – July 7, 2016 – Today the Blind Institute of Technology (BIT) and Uber Colorado announced an initiative to help qualified blind and visually impaired people travel to job interviews. Thanks to the agreement, a tap of the Uber app will help remove the employment barrier of getting to job interviews for blind and visually impaired BIT candidates in Colorado. Uber will provide two free rides (up to $25) to and from job interviews.
University of Denver graduate Mike Kemp understands firsthand the value the service will provide. When he was interviewing for jobs, he often spent more than a day organizing his travel to an interview. Not unusual, but in addition to making sure his suit was hanging neatly in the closet and that he rehearsed answers to potential interview questions, Kemp literally had to take extra steps.
Now a consultant for Denver’s Breo Solutions, Kemp is one of the estimated 22.5 million Americans 18 and older who are blind or visually impaired (BVI), according to the 2014 National Health Interview Survey.
Unlike most job seekers, Kemp couldn’t drive himself to an interview, which meant he had to spend extra time learning and memorizing bus routes and times. In order to ensure he arrived on time the day of his interview, Kemp often had to practice his route the day before to determine how long the journey would take. The difficulty of the process led him to approach the Blind Institute of Technology about creating a program to help others with transportation to employment opportunities.
“Statistics show that the unemployment and underemployment rate among blind and visually impaired Americans is a staggering 80 percent,” said Mike Hess, founder and executive director of the Blind Institute of Technology. “BIT appreciates Uber’s support in helping us solve this national diversity and inclusion epidemic so all motivated and qualified BVI candidates receive the same opportunities for employment as everyone else striving to achieve their career aspirations.”
“We’re excited to team with the Blind Institute of Technology and connect the population they serve with a convenient and reliable transportation option,” said Uber Colorado General Manager Dave Britton. “Uber’s mission is to make transportation as reliable as running water, everywhere for everyone, and this agreement is another example of how we are working to make that mission a reality.”
“For the BVI community, daily transportation can be a significant barrier to their employment and success at work,” Hess added. “A commute to a job interview or work can take anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour longer for BVI individuals and that doesn’t include the time it takes to plan ahead to learn public transit routes, scheduled and actual travel time.”
The partnership with Uber represents a central and important aspect of BIT’s new Eyes on the Road program, which is dedicated to making transportation for BVI individuals – from their initial job interview to their daily commute to work – easy, convenient, affordable and stress-free. To get involved or for more information about BIT’s Eyes on the Road program please email eyesontheroad@blindinstituteoftechnology.org.
About the Blind Institute of Technology
Founded in 2013, the Blind Institute of Technology is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that offers solutions-based programs aimed at achieving its mission of reducing the excessively high unemployment and underemployment rate among the BVI community by preparing BIT candidates and the employers who hire them for long-term success. With an emphasis on IT and other technical career fields, the organization offers BVI candidates education, certification and training, interview preparation and interview transportation services through its new Eyes on the Road program.
For potential employers, the Blind Institute of Technology provides staffing and inclusive technology services that help companies understand the value and ease of applying accessible technology to develop products and services available to the millions of Americans who are blind, visually impaired or have other disabilities. BIT also offers companies and other organizations its popular Art of Blinders program, a multi-sensory, experiential, team-building communications workshop. To learn more, visit www.blindinstituteoftechnology.org and connect with BIT on Facebook, @BlindInstituteT and LinkedIn.
About Uber Colorado
Uber’s mission is to make transportation as reliable as running water — everywhere, for everyone. We started in 2009 to solve a simple problem – how do you get a ride at the touch of a button? Six years and over a billion trips later, we’ve started tackling an even greater challenge: reducing congestion and pollution in our cities by getting more people into fewer cars. Follow us on Twitter @Uber_CO and find us on Facebook: Uber
Blind Institute of Technology Contact
Paul Lonnegren
Pulse8 PR
(720) 470-7488 plonnegren@pulse8pr.com
Uber Colorado Contact
Dave Bauer dave.bauer@uber.com

Mike Hess Recognized By Senator Linda Newell For Recent Appointment To Denver Commission For People With Disabilities

April 6, 2016

Senator Linda Newell presenting Mike Hess with a certificate of honor

Founder of Blind Institute of Technology, Mike Hess, has been recognized by Senator Linda Newell for his recent appointment to the Denver Commission For People With Disabilities. He was presented with a certificate that reads as follows:
“The Senate of The Colorado Legislature convened in the Second Regular Session of the Seventieth General Assembly hereby extends heartiest congratulations and commendation to Michael Hess. The members of the Colorado State Senate wish to congratulate Michael Hess on his recent appointment to the Denver Commission for People with Disabilities. Michael has a proven history of advocacy for those living with disabilities. He established the Blind Institute of Technology which provides training and mentoring for permanent positions in IT employment. Michael has shown that disability does not have to be an impediment to access. The members of the Colorado State Senate commend Michael Hess’ proven excellence and wish him every success in the future. On request of Senator Linda Newell, given this 31st day of March 2016, State Capitol, Denver, Colorado.”

Mike Hess has been appointed for the Denver Commission for People with Disabilities

May 18, 2016
The Blind Institute of Technology is proud to announce that our Founder and Executive Director, Mike Hess has been appointed for the Denver Commission for People with Disabilities.
The mission of the Denver Commission for People with Disabilities is to promote and enhance equality for people with disabilities through empowerment, advocacy and education by working with community members, and City and County of Denver officials and employees who have the ability to affect change.
Hess’ mission, to prepare blind and visually impaired (BVI) people with IT and other technical skills and the employers who hire them for success in the workplace aligns perfectly with their cause.
BIT could not be more excited to work with the city of Denver,  one of America’s most accessible cities,  and make it an even better place for people with disabilities.

Blind, Visually Impaired Untapped Resource in the Workforce

March 14, 2016
There are 20 million Americans who are blind or visually impaired, and 80 percent of them are unemployed. Now a Denver organization is working nationwide to get these people jobs.

Mike Hess fights for the visually impaired

November 6, 2015
Denver Business Journal
The stereotypical IT worker in your average television sit-com might wear thick-rimmed glasses and be most often seen with their face hidden behind a computer screen. But what if an IT worker is blind?

Visually Impaired Engineers Help Design New Health Apps, Improve Accessibility

July 27, 2015
Aetna News
Apps and smartphones are becoming important tools to track and manage personal health, but millions of disabled Americans still face significant obstacles accessing that technology. iTriage wants to eliminate that barrier, so the Aetna-owned company has partnered with the Blind Institute of Technology (BIT) to have visually impaired engineers work with developers to make forthcoming versions of iTriage and an Aetna app for members that are designed with disabled access in mind.

Blind Institute of Technology aims to solve jobless ‘epidemic’

July 18, 2015
Denver Post
A calculated “bug hunt” is underway at iTriage in downtown Denver.
With laptops and tablets on a desk, contract employees Antonio Rozier and Amelia Dickerson scan through the backbone of a health symptom and information website and mobile app, using screen readers that convert text to Braille or speech to determine how well they work with assistive technology for the vision-impaired….

Can’t find all the tech people you need? The Blind Institute of Technology can help

June 18, 2015
Network World
Mike Hess is the founder and Executive Director of the Blind Institute of Technology, a Colorado-based nonprofit transitioning to be a national outfit, whose goal is to find tech roles for the chronically underemployed visually impaired community. Hess, who runs the organization with 40+ volunteers, including eight C-level executives on his board of directors, recently outlined his goals for Network World Editor in Chief John Dix…

Blind people make great employees, and Lakewood’s Mike Hess can prove it

May 18, 2015
Denver Business Journal
After 17 years working in the IT sector, Mike Hess decided that a six-figure salary wasn’t nearly as important as leaving a legacy and making a difference.
“I knew I wanted to do more…and I thought how can I get other sight-impaired people into technology?” Hess said.