Innovative Practice 2021 on Inclusive Employment and ICT

Training people with psychosocial and intellectual disabilities for ICT jobs

itworks is an NGO based in Netanya, Israel, focusing on inclusive job-creation in the ICT-sector. It has developed the Technology Accessibility Program (TAP) for people with intellectual and psychosocial disabilities. This consists of technological education, soft skills training, and job placement in quality assurance (QA), helpdesks, and similar positions. From its launch in 2011 to 2020, itworks has trained more than 230 people with disabilities, 74 per cent of whom have found work.

“I graduated from the itworks programme and now work for a subsidiary of IBM!”

Yariv, 40a TAP graduate
About the practice at a glance
Name of Innovative Practice:Technology Accessibility Program (TAP)
Organisation:itworks
Country
of Implementation
Israel
Start Year2011
Sub-CategoryA project of Civil Society

FACTS & FIGURES

  • itworks trains 25–50 participants annually
  • The employment rate within one year of programme completion is 70 per cent
  • The usual age of participants ranges from 22 to 45

PROBLEMS TARGETED

In Israel many people with psychosocial and intellectual disabilities only have access to unskilled jobs with lower pay.

SOLUTION, INNOVATION, AND IMPACT

itworks trains people with and without disabilities for roles in Israel’s high-tech industry. TAP participants receive training in the skills needed for the tech sector, such as quality assurance and helpdesk services, as well as training in such soft skills as self-presentation and interview techniques.

Itworks has grown a network of IT companies that are keen on fulfilling their CSR criteria and are willing to hire persons with disabilities. Each training cohort is supported by personal coaches and an occupational psychologist from training through to employment. These professionals can connect with the person’s existing support network of social workers or psychiatrists, if required. Trainees also receive personalized job placement assistance from itworks to connect them to employers. Graduates from the programme earn an average monthly wage of US$1,754 in tech jobs.

itworks runs one or two courses per year with 25 to 50 participants focussing on QA topics, since these do not require a post-secondary educational degree. The employment retention rate within one year of completing the programme is 70 per cent.

A male and female trainer are at the front of a classroom, which has individual computers on each desk. Five participants sit at the computers, watching the trainers.

TAP participants take part in a quality assurance training workshop.

FUNDING, OUTLOOK AND TRANSFERABILITY

Since 2018 the National Insurance Institute, Israel’s social security agency, has been supporting the programme both financially and with implementation. itworks fundraises for the remaining funds for the programme’s staff, soft skills portion, and employment services.

TAP is based on itworks’s successful Job Training to Employment Model, which was previously implemented for five years by itworks with other target groups. itworks hopes to develop the programme in the future by offering internships and mentoring to participants.

FACTSHEET

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