The Department for Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPwD) [Department for Empowerment (MSJE)] and Wadhwani Foundations Skills Development Network Trust recently announced a strategic partnership with a vision to provide training and employment of Persons with Disabilities (PwDs).
Lov Verma, Secretary, DEPwD, and Ajay Mohan Goel, Trustee, SDN Trust signed the MoU.
The partnership aims at using technology to create scalability for training and employment of 500,000 PwDs in three years, with overall target of 25, 00,000 by 2022.
To achieve this goal, the Skills Development Network Trust has committed to co-invest an amount of between Rs. 12 crores to Rs. 60 crores during the next four years, by leveraging the government funding in the ratio of 1:10.
"Prevalent modus operandi of disability management focused around welfare, reservations, concessions, subsidies and other short-term practices have clearly failed to deliver results," said Dr. Ajay Kela, President and CEO, Wadhwani Foundations, while talking about this strategic partnership.
"This strategic partnership between Department for Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPwD) and Wadhwani Foundations will accelerate development and employment efforts of this unique talent pool of 3-4 million educated disabled in India. This segment of society reflects an enormous 'can-do' attitude, and through Government and Foundations support coupled with proper training we hope to mainstream the disabled into corporate jobs," he added.
The key focus areas of this collaboration will include program management and support for training and employment of 500,000 PwDs over three years through the government's National Action Plan for Skill Training of Persons with Disabilities, creation of IT-enabled interactive content for PwD training to meet the scale requirement, assisting public companies to meet their requirement of hiring PwD's for three percent of their staff.
Under this MoU, Wadhwani Foundations will also set up Wadhwani Chair at one or two National Institutes for PWD to provide research and technology expertise for rapid development of innovative new assistive devices for PwDs apart from their training and development.
Mukesh Jain, Joint Secretary, Department for Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPwD), expressed his delight at signing this MoU and said India needs to integrate its sizable disabled population into society.
"This can only happen if we empower Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) economically and the best way to do so is to skill and train them for better job opportunities," said Jain.
"Through this MoU, Wadhwani Foundations SDN trust will help the Government in bringing multi-dimensional technology enabled e-content solutions like massive open online courses (MOOCs) to meet PwD related skilling objectives. Also, the Wadhwani Chair at one or two National Institutes for PwD will aid in rapid development of innovative new assistive devices enabling PwDs to perform tasks that they were formerly unable to accomplish," he added.
Wadhwani Foundations Opportunity Network for Disabled (OND) has been propelling widespread change with the mission of mainstreaming the educated disabled in corporate India. The Foundations has been at the forefront of supporting training and placement of disabled individuals into mid-skill entry level jobs. OND enables educated PwD youth [who are provided training in identified skill areas] to be placed against regular job openings in mainstream organizations.