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Neil Jacobson

Neil Jacobson, Board of Directors

Neil Jacobson

Neil Jacobson is the founder and CEO of Abilicorp, a business innovation consulting company. Abilicorp mission is to significantly increase the employment rate of people with disabilities by promoting entrepreneurs with disabilities and eliminating employment barriers.

Jacobson retired in 2008 from Wells Fargo Bank after 29 years, most recently serving as Senior Vice President in charge of their System Automation Management and Wireless Technology Divisions, and previously as Chief Systems Architect for the retail business.

Over the past 35 years, Jacobson has been an advocate and change agent for the economic development of people with disabilities. In 1975 he co-founded the CIL Computer Training Program, a nationally recognized training program, enabling people with significant disabilities to become computer programmers. When he stepped down as Chairman of the Board of CIL in 1994, more than 300 students had graduated, 92% of who had found competitive employment. More than 28 other programs throughout the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico now use the CIL CTP as their model. Jacobson also founded the Association of Rehabilitation Programs in Data Processing, and helped create the Neil Jacobson Computer Center in Uganda.

Jacobson has continued his work on economic development for people with disabilities as a Board member and past Chair of the World Institute on Disability (WID). He was also the Vice-Chair of the President’s Committee on Employment for People with Disabilities under the Clinton Administration. He now chairs WID’s Center for Economic Growth (CEG). CEG is developing and promoting CareerACCESS – a Social Security Reform Program eliminating work disincentives and providing people with disabilities services required to build careers.

Believing that Judaism must ensure that all people are able to do Tikkun Olam (repairing the world), Jacobson works with his Temple and Union of Reform Judaism (URJ). He chairs Temple Sinai’s Access Committee and represents the Committee on the Temple Board. He has presented at several URJ Biennial Conferences and at the Hebrew Union College in New York. He made a video for the URJ’s Disability Inclusion Project and has written several articles for the The URJ’s Religious Action Center.

Jacobson received a B.S. in Mathematics from Hofstra University and completed his MBA at Golden Gate University. In 1991, he was inducted into the California Hall of Fame. Jacobson has received many awards for his contributions, including the Independence Award from CIL, the Murray Award from the American Academy for Cerebral Palsy, Alumnae of the Year at Golden Gate University and the 2014 Henry Viscardi Achievement Award.

Jacbonson lives in Oakland, California, with his wife Denise. Their son, David, lives nearby.

Meet our Boards of Directors and Advisors

Learn about all of the members of RespectAbility’s Board of Directors and Advisors: https://www.respectability.org/about-us/meet-our-boards-of-directors-and-advisors/.

Meet the Author

Lauren Appelbaum

Lauren Appelbaum is the VP, Communications and Entertainment & News Media, of RespectAbility, a nonprofit organization fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities so all people with disabilities can fully participate in every aspect of community. As an individual with an acquired nonvisible disability – Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy – she works at the intersection of disability, employment, Hollywood and politics. She regularly conducts trainings on the why and how to be more inclusive and accessible for entertainment executives throughout the industry. Appelbaum partners with studios, production companies and writers’ rooms to create equitable and accessible opportunities to increase the number of people with lived disability experience throughout the overall story-telling process. These initiatives increase diverse and authentic representation of disabled people on screen, leading to systemic change in how society views and values people with disabilities. She has consulted on more than 100 TV episodes and films with A&E, Bunim-Murray Productions, NBCUniversal, Netflix, ViacomCBS, and The Walt Disney Company, among others. She represents RespectAbility on the CAA Full Story Initiative Advisory Council, Disney+ Content Advisory Council, MTV Entertainment Group Culture Code and Sundance Institute’s Allied Organization Initiative. She is the author of The Hollywood Disability Inclusion Toolkit and the creator of an innovative Lab Program for entertainment professionals with disabilities working in development, production and post-production. She is a recipient of the 2020 Roddenberry Foundation Impact Award for this Lab. To reach her, email LaurenA@RespectAbility.org.

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