Melwood “abilIT” Cybersecurity Training Program Creates a Diverse Workforce Pipeline for Employers

Melwood “abilIT” Cybersecurity Training Program Creates a Diverse Workforce Pipeline for Employers

March 6, 2019

The Crystal City-based Program Prepares People of Differing Abilities for IT certifications through Job and Life Skills Training

(Upper Marlboro, MD, March 6, 2019) – Melwood, one of the largest nonprofit employers for people with disabilities, has launched a new program, abilIT, to train people with disabilities and injured veterans for high demand jobs in IT and cybersecurity.

Today, only four out of 10 people with disabilities are employed leaving millions of qualified workers in search of a meaningful career path.  At the same time, there are more than 350,000 unfilled cybersecurity positions and demand has never been higher for entry-level professionals. “The abilIT program allows us to solve these two problems with one integrated solution that benefits participants and employers,” says Melwood President and CEO Cari DeSantis.

For more than 55 years, Melwood has been an industry leader training and employing people with disabilities.  abilIT consists of soft skills training along with technical training followed by job search assistance, placement, and on-the-job coaching.  The neurodiversity of our students is reflected in their keen abilities for hyper-focus, affinity for repetitious tasks, meticulous attention to detail and visual and systematic thinking, which makes them perfect for these high tech, in-demand jobs. After completion of the course, the students will be prepared to sit for A+ certification, Network+ certification, and Security+ certification which can lead to entry-level jobs in cybersecurity.

Melwood partnered with industry leaders like Cybrary, the creator of the largest massive open online course (MOOC) in the cybersecurity arena to provide the technical training. “Cybrary is proud to team up with Melwood for the abilIT program. Our platform empowers individuals of all abilities and phases of their lives to ‘skill-up’ and better their position in the workforce. Participants gain entry-level IT expertise and self-assessment tools as they get ready to enter the cyber-security job market,” says Cybrary CEO Ralph Sita.

The first abilIT classes are already underway and Melwood is working closely with potential employers to hire the future graduates.  For more information on hiring an abilITgraduate, please visit

“We’re inviting companies to take the Melwood challenge and explore all the advantages of hiring people with disabilities and injured veterans.  I will hold our workforce up against any out there because of the quality of their work and the dedication to their jobs,” says DeSantis.

About Melwood

Melwood is one of the largest employers of people with disabilities in the country, employing more than 1,600 workers – nearly 1,000 of whom are people with disabilities. Melwood offers job placement, job training, life skills for independence, and support services to more than 2,500 people each year in DC, Maryland, and Virginia. Melwood also has an inclusive summer camp program for children and provides employment and support services to veterans and active-duty military members who have experienced service-related trauma or injury. For more information, visit

Media Inquiries

Jewelyn Cosgrove
Vice President of Government and Public Relations
O: 240-846-3952
[email protected]


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