TAP – Technology Accessibility Program. A Vocational Training Program for Adults with Intellectual and Sensory Disabilities

Project Description: TAP was developed out of the belief that people with intellectual and sensory disabilities should not be confined to low-paid, unskilled positions and deserve equal access to the wealth of career opportunities created by Israel’s thriving technological industry.

Because individuals with disabilities are often without professional resources and personal confidence, they are unable to pursue professional careers and achieve economic independence.  Furthermore, those who are fortunate enough to access quality education are reluctant to seek out skilled employment due to awareness of the stigmas and discriminatory hiring practices they will face.

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Need: There is a great need for initiatives that provide vocational training for people with disabilities. A June 2011 article in Globes (Israel’s leading financial newspaper) reported a 90% unemployment rate amongst this sector, with 5% employed in unskilled positions in the open market and 5% employed for repetitive manual labor.

ITWorks aims to address this need by recruiting adults with intellectual and sensory disabilities, training them for high-tech jobs, and successfully placing them in skilled  positions.

Program Goals:

  • To train people with intellectual and sensory disabilities in technology which will enable them to gain skilled and sustainable employment in the hi-tech industry and advance professionally, to help people with disabilities to raise  themselves out of poverty and providing a better life for themselves and their families
  • To assist each participant in finding and maintaining skilled jobs in the technological sector
  • To increase participants’ employability through soft-skills workshops
  • To alter the perception of leading technological employers and effect new hiring practices

Target Population: The target population for TAP is people with intellectual and sensory disabilities who are either unemployed or are working as unskilled laborers.

The program is open to women and men irrespective of race, religion, or educational background. Each TAP group is comprised of  up to 20 participants ages 18 and over.

Program Activities: 

  • A 3 month recruitment period, in partnership with Bituach Leumi (National Insurance Institute) and the Ministry of Social Affairs
  • 50 hours of technical English classes
  • Technological training in Quality Assurance (QA) 4 days a week for 3 months, and 2 days a week for the remaining 3 months, in parallel with a 3-day internship program
  • 50 hours of professional development workshops
  • A minimum of a 6 month job placement period, in which each participant is mentored and assisted in finding a skilled technological position.