New Delhi: Upholding its commitment to close the disability divide in employment, Microsoft announced a collaboration with EnAble India to unlock 100,000 opportunities for persons with disabilities (PwDs). The initiative – Inclusion to Action – aims to provide an opportunity platform, bringing together more than 100 organisations in the country across financial services, manufacturing, retail and tech sectors to work together on various tech skilling, mentorship, internship and employment initiatives to achieve economies of scale in the common goal of economic empowerment for PwDs.
Confronting several barriers to equal opportunities at work, people with disabilities experience higher rates of unemployment and socio-economic inequalities. To address these challenges, people with disabilities need to have the same access as everyone else to education and job opportunities. Technology can play an important role in unlocking this access through mentoring and skills development, and by better connecting people with disabilities to available job opportunities.
The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between EnAble India and Microsoft aims to create an ecosystem for both opportunity seekers and providers with initiatives ranging from tech skilling and mentorship to internships and jobs. The technical skilling programmes are designed to enhance understanding of digital accessibility that can create a cultural shift as organisations are increasingly shaping their hybrid work strategies. The increased representation of PwDs will also lead to inclusive product development, which can in turn aid technology users with disabilities. In addition, persons with disabilities get access to a training curriculum on modern workplace applications for higher productivity and effective collaboration.
Dipesh Sutariya, Co-Founder, Enable India, said, “At Enable India, we believe work is core to human dignity. In an era where 85 per cent of the jobs are filled by networking, there is an urgent need to unlock opportunities for persons with disabilities whose social circles are 10 per cent of that of non-disabled. We are proud to partner with Microsoft to unlock 100,000 opportunities for persons with disabilities as pathways to economic empowerment.”
Anant Maheshwari, President, Microsoft India, said, “At Microsoft, we believe that disability is a strength, and we are committed to creating an ecosystem ofaccessibility to help tackle the disability divide, including disparities in employment.This unique collaboration between EnAble India and Microsoft marks the beginning of a continuous endeavour to engage with multiple stakeholdersacross industry, advocates, experts, policymakers,and the disability communityto empower and transform employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities. All of us now need to act with a bolder ambition to empower this large untapped talent pool to achieve more.”
Recognising that the role of any single company will always be limited, the participation of more than 100 organisations in this collaboration will amplify the scale and impact of the efforts towards reducing the unemployment rate for people with disabilities. To create a culture of accessibility that will have a ripple effect throughout the industry and across the business community, the collaboration between EnAble India and Microsoft will recognise and encourage partners and suppliers that are hiring persons with disabilities.
This collaboration follows Microsoft’s 5-year global commitment to help decrease the gap in education, employment and access to technology for people with disabilities around the world. In India, Microsoft is working closely with governments, corporates, industry organisations, academia, non-profits and civil society partners to skill persons with disabilities for a sustainable future-ready economy.