Mike Hess is a Trailblazer

Transforming Adversity into Opportunity

Due to early onset macular degeneration, Mike was told he would be completely blind by the age of 18. For years he tried to hide his disability while interviewing for jobs in fear of the stigma of being visually impaired. At times he wanted to give up, but the immeasurable love of his family helped him push forward. After 20 years of working in the private sector and witnessing a huge gap in talent specific to the blind and visually impaired, Mike decided to take a risk and leave his six figure income to start the Blind Institute of Technology (BIT). 

Empowering Unique and Incredible Talent

Initially, BIT's focus was on assisting the blind and visually impaired community. However, they've since broadened their support to include all individuals with disabilities. BIT’s mission is to not only bring awareness to professionals with disabilities, but also to help them learn in-demand Salesforce and tech skills. Because the Einstein 1 Platform was built with tremendous considerations in accessibility, BIT is focused on Salesforce training.

The disabled community offers a wide and unique set of skills that often go underutilized and underrepresented. And as technology and AI become increasingly more accessible, there’s a huge opportunity to enable blind and disabled individuals to leverage their skills to make meaningful impact in their organizations. Companies that are committed to this talent pool have been able to increase their revenue by 28%.

BIT has placed hundreds of disabled tech professionals into high paying jobs with a goal of helping over 10,000 people secure employment. In 2018, the BIT Academy was established to provide workshops and trainings that enable disabled individuals to earn relevant industry certifications and is now the only approved training provider for people with disabilities by Salesforce. In the last year alone, BIT students have collectively earned over 50 Salesforce certifications and the institute has successfully placed 8 apprenticeships within the Salesforce ecosystem. In addition to skilling up professionals on the Einstein 1 Platform, BIT and Salesforce have also partnered to create Workforce Navigators, a career development program focused on helping the disabled community learn Salesforce skills and earn certifications.

Salesforce has created this amazing platform that allows somebody like me to be able to come into their platform from training to certification to employment, for the first time ever.

Mike Hess
Founder & Executive Director, Blind Institute of Technology

Driving Positive Impact with Salesforce

Mike is no longer hiding his disability. Instead, he’s living out what he was born to do—dedicating his life and career to creating accessibility and driving equity for professionals with disabilities. And by leveraging Salesforce technology, he’s creating lasting impact for the community, driving positive change, and breaking barriers in the pursuit of a more inclusive and equitable world.