Innovative Practice 2021 on Inclusive Employment and ICT

Transforming sheltered workshops to offer vocational training and employment support

The Sohwa Aram Centre is a vocational rehabilitation service and social enterprise based in Gwangju. In 2017 it launched Job Plus to support people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. It focuses on transforming sheltered workshops into vocational rehabilitation agencies that can support people from high school into employment. The project provides internships, short term work experience, and support services. From 2018 to 2020, 34 participants found employment through the project.

“If businesses, schools, and vocational services play their role, people with disabilities find work.”

About the practice at a glance
Name of Innovative Practice:Job Plus
Organisation:Sohwa Aram VR Centre
of Implementation
South Korea – Gwang-ju Metropolitan City
Start Year2017
Sub-CategoryA project of Civil Society


  • Since 2017, 34 people have found employment
  • Programme participants have an 85 per cent job retention rate
  • As of May 2020 the centre is working with 100 sheltered workshops


Many people with intellectual and developmental disabilities work in sheltered workshops, with a lack of training and support to move into the open labour market.


Job Plus provides people with personalized training and support to enter the open labour market. It works with (privately organized) sheltered workshops as well as businesses and government agencies to provide vocational training and employment support through existing sheltered workshop structures. Businesses also offer on-site training in their premises.

Job Plus’s J-TURN service is a model of training, employment, retraining, and reemployment so people know they can re-enter vocational rehabilitation if a job does not work out. It provides personalized post-employment adaptation and support services to increase the job retention rate of its participants. After three years it has a job retention rate of 85 per cent. Participants who secure work earn at least minimum wage.

In May 2020 the centre was working with 1,300 people in 100 sheltered workshops. It cooperates with specialist schools to provide internships and short-term work experience placements so students are better prepared to enter the job market upon graduating.

A young man wearing an apron stands behind a coffee machine in a coffee shop. He is pouring milk into a takeaway coffee cup. A woman in an apron is making coffee at a second machine in the background.

Employment promotion programmes help trainees gain work experience.


In 2019, Job Plus received US$82,237 from the Asan Foundation for Developmental Disability Support, established by Hyundai Engineering & Construction. Sohwa Aram Centre contributed US$3,682 of its own funds.

Job Plus expanded to 40 specialist schools in the second half of 2020 and aims to reach 100 schools in 2021. By 2025 it aims to develop a post-school employment programme for students with customized vocational training and focused on transition. It also wants to develop programmes to support jobs in the public sector and continue to work to transform the function of sheltered workshops.


Ms. So Hee Lee


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