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May	
  30,	
  2015	
  
	
  
	
  
	
  
	
  
Recommendation	
  for	
  Mr.	
  Subhashish	
  Acharya	
  
	
  
	
  ...
2
workforce.	
  Commenting	
  on	
  the	
  incredibly	
  high	
  unemployment	
  rate	
  for	
  the	
  blind,	
  Senator	
...
3
• Over	
  45	
  businesses	
  from	
  Video	
  game,	
  Big	
  Data,	
  eLearning,	
  Business	
  Networking,	
  IT	
  
...
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Recommendation : Harvard University : Harpreet Singh Project Starfish

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Recommendation : Harvard University : Harpreet Singh Project Starfish

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Recommendation : Harvard University : Harpreet Singh Project Starfish

  1. 1.       May  30,  2015           Recommendation  for  Mr.  Subhashish  Acharya       My  name  is  Harpreet  Singh  and  I  have  served  as  a  member  of  the  faculty  in  the  Department  of  South   Asian  Studies  at  Harvard  University.  I  received  my  PhD  in  comparative  religion  from  the  Committee  on   the  Study  of  Religion  at  Harvard  in  2012.  I  also  co-­‐founded  Academic  Room,  a  platform  where  academics   and  subject  matter  experts  from  over  200  countries  interact  and  share  scholarly  content.  I  previously   held  various  senior  management  positions  for  companies  like  Citigroup  and  other  financial  institutions.  I   left  my  corporate  career  to  become  an  academic  and  a  social   entrepreneur.  I  serve  on  the  Board  of   Trustees  of  several  non-­‐profit  organizations  and  on  the  advisory  board  of  Institute  for  Asian  American   Studies.  I  received  my  Master  of  Theological  Studies  degree  from  Harvard  Divinity  School  and  received   training   in   Persian,   Arabic,   Sanskrit,   Brajbhasha,   Urdu,   French   and   German.   I   obtained   a   Bachelor   of   Science  in  Computer  and  Systems  Engineering  from  Rensselaer  Polytechnic  Institute.  In  2003,  along  with   Desmond  Tutu,  I  was  honored  with  the  James  Parks  Morton  Interfaith  Tribute  by  the  Interfaith  Center  of   New  York  for  my  work  to  help  heal  local,  marginalised,  segregated  and  minority  communities  on  the   grassroots  level.       I  am  writing  this  letter  in  support  of  Mr  Subhashish  Acharya,  who  has  created  enormous  value  globally  in   training  and  mentoring  of  unemployed  blind  and  disabled  professionals,  while  creating  a  path  for  them   to   pursue   professional   employment.   This   is   a   paradigmatic   “free   of   charge”   global   training   and   mentoring  platform  that  can  serve  as  a  promising  solution  to  the  high  unemployment  rates  faced  by   blind  and  disabled  professionals.     Today,  there  are  over  seven  million  blind  people  in  the  United  States  and  250  million  people  globally.   Seventy   to   eighty   percent   of   blind   professionals   are   educated,   yet   they   are   unemployed.   Millions   of   people  with  visual  impairments  live  below  the  poverty  line  and  several  millions  are  not  even  part  of  the  
  2. 2. 2 workforce.  Commenting  on  the  incredibly  high  unemployment  rate  for  the  blind,  Senator  Tom  Harkin   calls  the  situation  a  “National  Crisis.”     Mr   Subhashish   Acharya   is   considered   to   be   one   of   the   pioneers   in   the   field   of   training,   assisting,   mentoring,  and  creating  employment  for  blind  professionals  nationally  and  internationally.  Mr  Acharya   achieves   this   through   advocacy,   creating   impact,   and   helping   blind   professionals   learn,   gain   work   experience,  and  make  an  income.    Mr  Acharya’s  organization  has  the  potential  to  bring  unemployed   blind  and  disabled  workers  back  to  the  workforce.     Mr  Acharya  has  created  a  new  model  of  training,  using  which  he  has  personally  trained  over  a  hundred   blind  and  disabled  people  in  eight  countries.    60%  of  the  people  he  has  mentored  have  been  able  to  find   part-­‐time   work   and   been   engaged   in   working   with   several   businesses.   His   training,   mentorship   and   leadership   has   delivered   profound   results.   This   is   the   world’s   first   global,   entirely   volunteer   based,   workforce   development   training   for   blind   and   disabled   professionals,   which   is   virtual   and   solving   mobility  challenges  that  all  people  with  a  disability  face.       Mr  Acharya  brings  seventeen  years  of  industry,  corporate  and  business  experience  and  has  taught  blind   professionals  how  to  work  with  contemporary  businesses.  There  is  hardly  anyone  in  the  field  of  training   for  the  blind  with  Mr  Acharya’s  corporate  experience,  which  makes  him  unique.  Mr  Acharya  also  brings   business   connections   from   his   large   network   to   advocate   project-­‐based,   part-­‐time   and   full   time   employment   for   blind   professionals.   I   applaud   Mr   Acharya’s   dedication   to   the   purpose   of   creating   employment  at  scale  for  this  population.    Mr  Acharya  has  invested  thousands  of  hours  in  the  last  two   years   teaching   blind   professionals   on   the   phone   about   business   research,   sales   training,   customer   service,  project  management  and  appointment  setting,  which  are  needed  by  emerging  businesses  today.   Many  of  these  jobs  are  not  automated  and  needs  human  intervention  for  a  short  period  of  time.  Under   business  research,  searching  the  internet  via  Google  commands  like  “site”,  “inurl”  etc  are  key  elements   that  helps  accelerate  searching  the  web  for  example.  Learning  these  commands  that  most  people  don’t   know   enables   the   blind   to   look   at   information   very   quickly   which   creates   distinct   business   value.   Teaching   social   media,   especially   Linkedin,   has   been   important   in   helping   these   professionals   gain   relevant  skills.  Teaching  them  about  sales  has  also  opened  a  new  horizon,  and  many  blind  professionals   are  also  working  as  professional  recruiters.       The  statistics  below  help  us  see  the  impact  of  this  bootstrapped  effort  led  by  a  single  individual:     • Trained  over  100  blind  and  disabled,  70%  of  which  are  located  in  the  United  States   • People  in  other  countries  trained  are  from  the  UK,  Canada,  Australia,  Ghana,  Slovenia,   India  and  Argentina     • 60%  of  the  professionals  are  making  an  income  after  mentoring   • 45  professionals  are  engaged  with  businesses  in  7  countries   • 20  professional  have  been  employed  part-­‐time  after  mentoring  and  6  have  been   employed  full-­‐time  
  3. 3. 3 • Over  45  businesses  from  Video  game,  Big  Data,  eLearning,  Business  Networking,  IT   Companies  etc  have  created  the  chance  of  blind  professionals  to  work  with  them  on   paid  projects.     Mr   Acharya’s   work   is   already   getting   a   great   deal   of   attention.   For   instance,   his   work   has   been   highlighted  in  prominent  periodicals  such  as  The  Chicago  Tribune,  Australian  Magazine,  and  Canberra   Entrepreneur.  He  has  also  been  recommended  to  play  a  role  with  state  agencies  like  the  Massachusetts   Commission  for  the  Blind  and  federal  agencies  dealing  with  disability.  Mr  Acharya  was  also  appointed  by   Deval  Patrick,  the  former  Governor  of  Massachusetts,  to  the  Rehab  Council  of  the  Mass  Commission  for   the  Blind  as  an  advisor  on  Industry  relations  and  Labor.    The  Council  was  originally  setup  by  Helen  Keller.     Mr   Acharya’s   extraordinary   ability   to   advocate   on   behalf   of   and   train   the   blind   and   the   disabled   to   become   self-­‐sufficient   and   return   to   the   workforce   has   a   huge   significance   for   our   country   and   the   society  at  large.  Mr  Acharya’s  passion,  determination,  and  his  ability  of  extraordinary  nature  to  create   social  capital  is  impressive.  If  he  is  supported  with  the  right  resources,  his  work  can  scale  to  improve  the   destiny  of  millions  of  disabled  professionals  who  live  in  despair  and  without  equal  opportunity.    I  am   sure  his  work  is  going  to  pay  great  dividends  for  the  blind  and  our  society  that  has  so  far  neglected  to   take  care  of  them.     Sincerely,         Harpreet  Singh   Harvard  University                  

Recommendation : Harvard University : Harpreet Singh Project Starfish

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