NEW DELHI — About 15 percent of the world’s population lives with some form of disability, of whom 2-4 percent experience significant difficulties in functioning. About 80 percent of the world’s disabled people come from developing countries like India. With 11,000 people with disability trained and rehabilitated, Youth4Jobs is empowering disabled youth in India and slowly introducing them into the mainstream.
According to a World Health Organisation (WHO) report on disabilities, it is imperative that people with disabilities be allowed to develop their skills though mainstream programs and services. Vocational rehabilitation and training open labor market opportunities which allow people with disabilities to live their lives with least dependencies.
Youth4Jobs explores the potential of disabled individuals and turns their disabilities into strength. While theoretically, everyone deserves an opportunity to succeed, less than one-fifth of the disabled population in India is employed. Youth4Jobs is empowering disabled youth in India by assisting and providing vocational training to those with developmental and intellectual restrictions.Youth4Jobs was created in
Youth4Jobs was created in 2012, when its founder Meera Shenoy saw an opportunity to provide the necessary skills to the disabled youth and make them employment-ready. “Hire these youth as it helps your business. Not out of sympathy or pity” is Shenoy’s mantra for her organization. The project started with one training center in Hyderabad, and soon after set up 18 more centers in other states.
The project provides a 45-day vocational training and job-linked skill development program with training centers tailored for different kinds of disabilities. The training caters to young men and women with speech, hearing and vision disabilities between the ages of 18 and 20 living in rural areas. The training is inclusive of
The training is inclusive of accommodation, and includes specially designed English, computers, life, soft skills and industry-specific curriculum followed by on-the-job training. Training is followed by a trainee-ships and placements in organizations. If the employers are satisfied with the candidates’ performance, the trainees are formally hired as regular full-time employees.
Most Indian companies do not understand disability and are not comfortable with the idea of employing a disabled worker. In order to overcome this challenge, Youth4Jobs launched its company connect program to educate communities and organizations on supporting and including a disabled workforce.
“Most companies were in disbelief that these individuals could carry out normal jobs. They were reluctant to hire youth with disabilities and had negative notions regarding the youth. We persisted to understand the gaps by designing solutions like fun-filled interactive workshops for all managerial levels,” Shenoy said.
In the end, these roadblocks only led to a bigger impact. Youth4Jobs has successfully demonstrated that linking one disabled youth in a family to a job can sustainably take the entire family out of poverty. This impact is also seen in companies that hire these people. On an average, organizations showed a 15 percent increase in productivity when they hired skilled workforce from Youth4Jobs.
Furthermore, Youth4Jobs is empowering disabled youth in India by setting up pilot vocational training centers for people with mental disabilities. It is also offering customized solutions to organizations such as Google, Ford and Valeo to integrate young people with disabilities into their workforce.
– Jagriti Misra