October was declared as National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) by the United States Congress to raise awareness of the employment needs and celebrate the contribution of people with disabilities. It is necessary to not only acknowledge their contribution to society but empower them in any possible way. This month is a reminder to be more conscious of our actions towards the differently abled and make the surrounding more inclusive.
What excites us the most about today’s emerging technologies is its ability to empower everyone without any bias. It can provide people with access to equal opportunity. Artificial Intelligence is one among several examples to showcase how technology has managed to make this world more accepting & inclusive.
This equality of opportunity has been one of the core missions of Envision as well. As an extension of this, we got a chance to partner with the City of Hague in the Netherlands, to increase employment opportunities for its visually impaired citizens. We are now a part of their ‘Startup In Residence’ program, which is a unique platform to solve some of their most pressing problems.
As a part of this, we interacted with several unemployed visually impaired people and employers to understand the obstacles each of them face. Over several hours of interaction, we were able to distil insights about their challenges. One of the key challenges was lack of awareness, on both the employers and employees end. The visually impaired job-seekers were unaware of the latest technologies available to assist them. Even those who were aware didn’t have adequate access to it. The employers, on the other hand, were afraid of the uncertainty involved. They were unaware of the assistive tools available, the cost or the practical use of these tools to their employees.
To solve this effectively, we designed a framework where Envision will work with the municipality to provide awareness and free access to technology for the visually impaired people looking for a job. When we presented our suggestions to the municipality, it was very well received and we were awarded the opportunity of working on its implementation. We are excited to get this working at the earliest.
We look at this opportunity as an important step to foster a more inclusive workforce and are extremely glad to be a part of it.