Neil Jacobson, Abilicorp
Neil is the founder and CEO of Abilicorp. In 2008, he completed 29 years of work at Wells Fargo as a senior vice-president in the information technology division. Starting as a developer in check processing, his many different positions included chief systems architect for the retail bank, manager of enterprise architecture, manager of middleware services, manager of database services, manager of wireless technology and manager of software automation management. For the last 35 years, he has been a strong advocate of the civil rights movement for people with disabilities, focusing primarily on their economic development. In 1975, Neil co-founded the CIL Computer Training Program. This 9-month course was designed to train people with significant disabilities to be computer programmers. In 1994, when he stepped down as chairman of the board for the school, over 300 students had graduated, 92% of who had found competitive employment. Over 28 other programs have started throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico which use CIL/ CTP as their model. In 1978, Neil founded the Association of Rehabilitation Programs in Data Processing, which helps these schools get started and succeed. In 2000, he helped create the Neil Jacobson Computer Center in Uganda. Neil has continued his work on economic development for people with disabilities as a board member and past chair of the World Institute on Disability. He was also the vice-chair of the President’s Committee on Employment for People with Disabilities under the Clinton administration. Neil believes that true independent living can only be achieved with economic independence.