Cooke and Moody's Release New Report, Roadmap for Inclusion: a Collaborative Digital Skills Training Model for Young Adults with Developmental Disabilities, during Disability Awareness Month

Oct 22, 2020 10:30 AM ET

NEW YORK, NY /October 22, 2020/ 3BL Media The Cooke School and Institute and Moody’s Foundation today released the report, “Roadmap for Inclusion: a Collaborative Digital Skills Training Model for Young Adults with Developmental Disabilities” outlining new employment trends and approaches to developing or improving digital skills training programs for young adults with disabilities.

The report is a culmination of findings from a year-long research project that explored avenues for collaboration between the business sector, higher and special education, and community stakeholders to increase opportunities for employment, particularly in the IT sector, for people with disabilities. It also provides a roadmap for entering the next phase of neurodiversity initiatives through the creation of a Digital Skills for the Workplace Program Model. This model, based on collaborative partnerships between business and education partners, offers soft skills and digital skills training, along with internship placements and higher education course work.

Key research findings show there are correlations between inclusive hiring practices and improvements in worker productivity and innovation, as well as positive impacts on social- and business-related outcomes. To successfully onboard people with disabilities into the workplace, the report shows that access to soft skill development, mentorship and entry-level internships is necessary.

“Moody’s understands that any diversity or recruitment strategy must be inclusive of people with disabilities,” said Arlene Isaacs-Lowe, Global Head of CSR and President of Moody’s Foundation. “Through our partnership with the Cooke School and Institute on this research report, we have developed an actionable roadmap for businesses and others to help young adults with disabilities prepare for careers in technology and create a more productive workforce where everyone has the tools and resources to thrive.”

The release of the report coincides with the 75th anniversary of the National Disability Employment Awareness Month, an annual awareness campaign that takes place each October. This year’s theme is “Increasing Access and Opportunity,” and as Cooke’s president, Dr. Michael Termini, reminds us, “after weathering the recent healthcare crisis, we find ourselves wondering how we can work to revitalize the economy. Now seems like an excellent time to think creatively about how to strengthen workforce morale and culture across industries. I can think of no better way to do that than by including young adults with disabilities in our workforce. It’s time to re-imagine what the workplace looks like, and that should include workers from every sector of society.” 

Post-report, Cooke and Moody’s will be collaborating to create a Digital Skills for the Workplace Program for Cooke’s young adult students. Through the program, Cooke and other educational partners will provide training and educational support in the areas of digital and soft skills development, while corporate business partners, like Moody’s, will provide mentorship and internship opportunities. Students identified as having the potential for advance IT training, will be connected to higher education institutions and additional training opportunities to promote continued credentialing.

Download a free copy of the full report (and the Executive Summary) at:



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About the Cooke School and Institute:

Founded in 1987, the Cooke School and Institute has been providing quality special education services to students with special needs for more than 30 years. Cooke envisions a world in which all people with special needs are included as valued members of their communities, leading independent and purposeful lives. The Cooke School serves some 300 students (K-12th grade); it also provides comprehensive transition services and academic, social and vocational support through Transitions, a program for 18-21 year olds. Cooke’s consulting and teacher training division, the Cooke Institute, provides professional development and coaching services to teachers (Pre-K through high school), and impacts more than 6,000 students annually. To learn more about Cooke’s programs, visit:

About Moody’s:

Moody’s (NYSE: MCO) is a global integrated risk assessment firm that empowers organizations to make better decisions. Our data, analytical solutions and insights help decision-makers identify opportunities and manage the risks of doing business with others. We believe that greater transparency, more informed decisions, and fair access to information open the door to shared progress. With over 11,200 employees in more than 40 countries, Moody’s combines international presence with local expertise and over a century of experience in financial markets. Learn more at

Moody’s builds toward a world where more people have access to opportunity, and where everyone has what they need to grow and thrive. We are committed to opening the door to brighter futures through our global corporate social responsibility programs connecting people around the world with the knowledge and resources they need to succeed. For more information, visit