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Equitable Job Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities

On January 1, 2009 HDP started implementation of the project Equitable Job Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities, funded by KAP Matra Small Grants Program (Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands) in three communities in Yerevan (Shengavit, Malatia-Sebastia and Erebuni). The target group of the project was about 90-100 people with disabilities (PWD). The main partners of the project were State Employment Service Agency (SESA) and its territorial centers in targeted communities and non governmental organizations (NGO) dealing with PWD issues as well.

Project coordinators The main goal of the project was to promote equitable job opportunities for PWDs through a policy change in 3 targeted communities wherein employers will be regulated to follow non-discriminatory employment norms and practices and practical job hunting skills learning for PWDs.

Within the project sociologist developed and conducted a Survey in those communities, mentioned above, with 60 large and medium-sized employers (20 in each community) to find out:

  • Challenges employers face when hiring people with disabilities (PWDs)
  • Their needs and workplace positions that can be filled with PWDs
  • The degree of awareness of disabled peoples labor rights in target communities,
  • Existence of internal labor regulation in the targeted employers' offices.

The survey showed that there are 22 disabled workers from the studied 60 organizations and 59 disabled from 10,082 employees and only very few of them were aware about their rights, privileges and about Partial Salary Compensation state employment program. According to the survey in 2009 the number of registered disabled in ECs was higher than in 2008.

Collaboration with institutions and different partner organizations greatly helped to smoothly and properly carry out the goals set forth by the program. We had also a very close cooperation with Unison NGO, that is engaged in employment for PWDs: they helped us to make the draft of policy document providing materials they had collected over years.

The employers of selected communities appreciate the initiative of HDP Foundation for paying attention to labor rights of disabled people and getting involved in the problem solving procedure of the mentioned field.

Persons from Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs During the project HDP organized three round-table discussions for medium and large employers of selected communities, representatives from Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs (MLSA), Labor Inspection, territorial ECs, civil society representatives, local government bodies and disabled.

During the round table discussions the project sociologist Yulia Melkumyan introduced the results of survey in targeted communities, later on the project lawyer/expert Anahit Aghabekyan introduced the internal labor regulation the basis of which was survey. SESA appreciated the evidence of this regulation and suggested to attach it to the partial salary compensation contract with employer. There are general points for he internal labor discipline regulation which are obligatory for all employees, it includes points for PWDs as well. The preparation of this regulation was one of the biggest achievements of the project as a result of social survey, most of the employers had no internal discipline regulation. And even if some of them had regulations, lot of points about PWDs was missing.

The participants of round table discussions made suggestions on regulation, which also included in drafted internal labor discipline regulation.

Group at a round-table Debating disabilitiesIt is noteworthy that representatives of State agencies were quite actively engaged, which we believe indicates that the employment issue for PWDs raised through this program is quite valid, actual and in the agenda of government and respective departments of MLSA and other government stakeholders.

During the project three trainings on job hunting skills were also organized for 115 PWDs from the target communities (35 participants from each community). HDP contracted Hay Consult professional training company for developing training materials and conducting the trainings. Expert trainers covered all topics regarding job hunting skills: employers requirements, the labor market demand, CV writing skills, interview preparation, the process of job search and acceptance, sources of finding potential job vacancies, information about employers, etc.

In order to raise the awareness of the society at large HDP published different brochures, documents and other publications to elaborate on the rights of PWDs. These brochures and booklets were distributed to the beneficiaries, stakeholders and partner organizations throughout the program.

Final workshop with participation of project beneficiaries On June 30, HDP conducted Final workshop with participation of project beneficiaries, employers, government stakeholders, partners, NGO community, mass media and other interested parties. During the workshop the Executive Director of HDP Foundation Ruzanna Ter-Ghazaryan and the project Manager Sargis Manukyan presented final results, achievements and challenges of the program.The other side (employers, PWDs) also made their presentations and remarks during the Final workshop. They highly appreciate the importance of this program, as it raises the awareness and promotes equal labor rights among PWDs and employers. At the end of the workshop the employers signed the Memorandum of Understanding on further cooperation suggested by HDP Foundation.

 

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