5.3.1 AT for employment and job placement services for employers and participants
While some financial support was available from regional and national authorities to subsidize the ATs in the telecenters, no such subsidies were available in some countries to procure the same software and hardware once a person had secured a job placement. Accessible MCTs in schools providing training for persons with disabilities should foster strong relationships with local employers. In the case study on the Tunisian telecenter, the telecenter invited prospective employers to give presentations and evaluate student projects. As well as awareness-raising activities for employers, the accessible MCTs in schools could potentially provide some level of support in placing graduates in jobs. It could also support employers by identifying workplace accommodations and helping find appropriate AT.
Job placement support enables prospective employers to overcome negative perceptions about employing a person with a disability, as well as providing advice and practical support on making workplace adjustments. Workplace adjustments can include the sourcing and installation of ATs required to enable the person to work. It is key to facilitating the transition of the person from education and training to employment.
In Italy, for example, at the Politecnico di Milano, graduates with disabilities have reached a 100 per cent success rate in finding jobs, in part due to the outreach and ongoing support provided by the university to graduates and employers in making these workplace adjustments.158 The TASCHA report suggests that accessible ICT centers can “build a reputation for providing successful candidates by maintaining ongoing relationships [with employers]”159.
A key policy consideration, therefore, is the provision of subsidies and grants to either employees or employers to make workplace accommodations, in line with the UN Convention’s obligations under “reasonable accommodation.”
There was a high demand from participants interviewed in the TASCHA study for additional and complementary employment services to be provided along with the ICT technical skills. These skills include resume-building, interview skills and other job-preparedness skills. In particular, respondents in the TASCHA study spoke of the increase in self-esteem and their personal perceptions of their own employability resulting from these ‘softer skills’ being part of the course.
Some of the telecenters in the TASCHA study also offered additional services such as physical rehabilitation and occupational therapy. In the context of schools providing access to accessible ICTs, close links with other established rehabilitative services in the community can be vital to developing and supporting the local ecosystem of disability services.
158Sbatella, Licia. 2010. Higher education ICT programs for promoting employability of students with disability.
159TASCHA page 86