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Persons with disabilities no longer a liability at workplaces

Persons with disabilities no longer a liability at workplaces

Organizations are initiating programs to train them and make them job-ready

Open to hiring:Employers are describing persons with disabilities as examples of ‘loyalty, commitment and enthusiasm, serving as inspiration for others’.

Open to hiring: Employers are describing persons with disabilities as examples of ‘loyalty, commitment, and enthusiasm, serving as inspiration for others’.

Organizations are initiating programs to train them and make them job-ready

Liability and a risk? Not anymore. Employers are describing persons with disabilities (PwDs) as examples of ‘loyalty, commitment, and enthusiasm, serving as inspiration for others’. There is an increase in the number of companies waking up to this fact.

Organizations working with PwDs are taking the debate around inclusivity in spaces of education, employment, and public life by the horn, initiating programs to train them and make them job-ready, dispelling misconceptions about employing them. PwDs are now being employed for roles beyond data entry, voice, and non-voice. They are moving on to newer roles. From hospitality to retail, many sectors are open to hiring them for functions that discount their disability and play up their strengths.

Last step first

Apart from offering job-specific training, placement organizations are addressing the last step first. They look at companies that are willing to recruit PwDs, gauge the vacancies and then train candidates with the necessary aptitude. What this ensures at the end of the short-duration courses is guaranteed employment. The age group being catered to is mostly between 18 and 35 years, while the other major consideration is the fact that many of them were unable to complete formal education.

The Association for People with Disability (APD), for instance, has an employment-led program for persons with loco-mortar, physical disabilities, speech and hearing impairment, and partial blindness. Lekha J., senior executive, APD, who is in charge of employment-led training and placements, said APD first checks the employee matrix with the employers.

 

The result is that close to 100 PwDs are currently employed in the Vasudev Adiga’s chain of restaurants. “We have identified jobs which suit the disability. For example, if someone has a disability in the lower limb, we find them a stationary role, such as a cashier or cutting vegetables,” said Jacob Kurien, Managing Director of the restaurant chain. “A disabled child is usually shunted away. Parents particularly worry about who will look after them. Now, with a monthly salary and other benefits, they send money home. It is quite a transformational experience for families.”

But jobs only in the city

Though wider acceptance from workplaces is being celebrated, the worry for training centers in smaller cities and towns is that candidates will ultimately be city-bound as that is where the jobs are.

M. Arun Kumar, program manager of the Samarthanam Livelihood Resources Centre (LRC) in Belagavi, where persons with disabilities are offered training in basic computers, communication skills, spoken English and interview skills, said as many as 794 candidates had been trained since October 2011. Of these, 578 had been placed, mostly in BPOs and call centers.

“But most of them are in Bengaluru. Mobilization is a big challenge for us, as even the families are usually illiterate and need to be counseled on sending the candidate for training. After being placed in the cities, they earn between Rs. 10,000 and Rs. 15,000. They have to take care of accommodation, food, etc and send some money back home. In the end, they are not left with much,” he said.

Source: The Hindu

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