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Govt of Massachusetts : John Oliveira : Subhashish Acharya
FROM: THE OFFICE OF DEPUTY COMMISSIONER
MASSACHUSETTS COMMISSION FOR THE BLIND,
600 WASHINGTON ST, BOSTON, MA
TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN:
RECOMMENDATION FOR MR. SUBHASHISH ACHARYA FOR EXTRAORDINARY WORK
CREATING GLOBAL EMPLOYMENT FOR THE VISUALLY IMPAIRED
I, John Oliveira, am the Deputy Commissioner of the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind. I am
directly responsible for employment outcomes and internships serving all legally blind/visually
impaired professionals in the state of Massachusetts. The unemployment rate for the visually impaired
community is over 70% in the United States and has been increasing steadily over the years because of
the lack of opportunity, incorrect perception about blindness among employers and skill obsolescence
in an ever-changing industry. Employment is thus a subject near and dear to my heart considering my
role and its direct impact to help transform lives of unemployed, visually impaired professionals.
Unfortunately, often time many of these professionals lack the necessary skills, work experience and
inclusion and even transportation to gain fulfilling employment. Unemployment affects millions of
people and this is something that must change in our country. Until we have a solution in place,
unemployed individuals will continue to be dependent on Social Security at both the state and federal
I met Mr. Acharya several years ago. From our first interaction, I immediately realized his passion to
solve the unemployment problem among blind and visually impaired individuals. Mr. Acharya comes
from a family of ophthalmologist in India. He has relayed to me how he saw firsthand the issues of
unemployment in India for people with disabilities, especially those who are blind. Mr. Acharya
approached me for suggestions on the idea of a new model to create employment for blind and visually
impaired individuals. Over the years we have connected several times, and I have mentored him
personally and provided suggestions related to building a cutting-edge workforce model - one that
scales beyond city or state borders.
UNEMPLOYMENT AMONG PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES: NATIONAL CONCERN:
Unemployment is a national concern for those with disabilities, PTSD, our veterans, and many more.
Those who contribute towards helping solve unemployment challenges should be considered national
heroes. I consider Mr. Acharya to be one among them based on his contribution towards creating
employment for people with disabilities, without expecting any financial return. Mr. Acharya is the
Founder of Project Starfish, which caters to the workforce development of individuals and is now an
MIT Startup Exchange company. People with disabilities entirely run the organization. Mr. Acharya
has personally invested his own money and expects no revenue in return because all proceeds go
towards helping the unemployed. That is extraordinary and exceptional.
CONTRIBUTION TOWARDS A CAUSE: MR ACHARYA:
Mr. Acharya’s tenacity for the last four years in creating an innovative employment model that fits and
scales in the era of Information Technology is an outstanding achievement towards a national cause.
Over 300 individuals have been able to springboard back into the workforce. Mr. Acharya's work has
been highlighted by several newspapers like Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, Harvard Innovation Lab
press release, to name a few. Besides being a member and advisor for the Massachusetts
Rehabilitation Council for the Blind, Mr. Acharya contributes towards several employment-related
items and the future of the workforce on a consistent basis.
THE FUTURE OF DISABILITY EMPLOYMENT: A NEW MODEL:
Mr. Acharya believes that after his Executive Education from Harvard Business School he will launch
a Knowledge Process Outsourcing Organization or KPO. KPO’s or BPO’s have typically existed
outside the United States, however with the model that Mr. Acharya has created, it has the potential to
bring these jobs back. KPO’s or BPO’s aren’t Call Centers. They are organizations capable of
providing quality services for “business processes”. This will be the new wave of employment called
“in-sourcing” against “outsourcing”. As a soon to be Harvard Alumni, these ambitious projects will be
supported by the prestigious Harvard I Lab, which is the world’s #1 incubator for amazing ideas. As
explained earlier, BPO’s typically exist out of the USA as they offer more affordable services in nature
with equal quality and effectiveness as opposed to it being in the United States and therefore causing a
loss of jobs. Mr. Acharya has come to understand that there are business processes in the Fortune 500
and Cloud companies that can avoid outsourcing these jobs because they would eventually cost more
and be much less effective from the quality standpoint.
SCALABLE EMPLOYMENT STRATEGY:
Based on the profound success over the last four years, Mr. Acharya plans to train the marginalized
population in the country “virtually” using “crowdsourcing” methods by having Harvard Alumni teach
60 minutes of skill sets every day to facilitate knowledge transfer and performance of business tasks.
This will be followed by skill training and practicum to keep a pool of candidates ready who can be
deployed into the KPO post training to perform specific jobs that are in demand, which will eventually
bring the jobs back to the United States. Mr. Acharya’s fellow classmates at Harvard Business School
have been so impressed with the program he has created and put into action, each of them have
committed to becoming part of the teaching staff. Examples of these jobs include; sales, customer
service, social media-based marketing, customer service, recruitment/sourcing, project management,
and many more. These industry-demand jobs can be performed with access to a computer, screen
reader, and internet. This kind of a model can change the future of unemployment and keep jobs in the
Mr. Acharya has relayed to me that he is confident he can produce positive results in a year or two on a
large scale. He wants to leverage “Diversity as a Skill” strategy model as explained below.
For example - U.S. Veterans are exceptional with processes and will be trained as Project Managers.
People with visual impairments will be trained to become exceptional business prospectors for Cloud
companies as well as business researchers with the help of their screen readers leveraging little known
Google search commands. Cancer survivors know medicine and hospital systems very well, so they
could be exceptional customer service professionals and social media promoters for Life Sciences
companies. Veteran spouses will be trained to become Recruiters/Sourcers.
Most of these pilot programs have already been proven successful through Mr. Acharya’s training
Mr. Acharya is outstanding in his ability to think creatively based on his industry knowledge about the
“Future of Workforce.” and creating a model of employment that will serve to create contemporary
employment for people with disabilities and other communities who need a second chance to get back
to the workforce. His extraordinary achievements at solving problems by finding pockets of
opportunities to help the marginalized population in the United States is commendable, and from my
knowledge, his initiatives are globally unique. I am aware of no similar business venture to date.
I am confident his work will have a huge impact on businesses and the unemployment situation in the
country. Currently, the United States needs exceptional people like Mr. Acharya who are devoted,
passionate, and focused on solving problems to bring people out from their dependence of social
I wish him tremendous success.
Govt of Massachusetts : John Oliveira : Subhashish Acharya