Research shows that the employment rate of people with disabilities in Israel is significantly lower than that of people without disabilities – 48.1% vs. 74.1%. Even among the employed, people with disabilities tend to earn significantly less than those without disabilities. According to the Ministry of the Economy, in 2012 the average monthly salary for a person with disabilities was 6,360 NIS compared with the national average of 8,260 NIS. In light of the gaps in rate of employment and pay, it is no wonder that people with disabilities are significantly poorer than the general population, as found by the Brookdale Institute. The Institute has also found that unemployment and underemployment of people with disabilities are often caused not by the disability itself but by associated obstacles, such as lower levels of education, lack in basic skills (computer proficiency, English, etc.), lack in “soft skills” and limited work experience. This means that much can be done to reduce inequality between people with and without disabilities through appropriate vocational training, occupational counselling, suitable job placement and support. The need for professional training and guided job placement programs for people with disabilities has become even more urgent since the historic government decree, issued in October 2014, mandating higher employment rates of people with disabilities.
While this marks a major national-level change, large employers will have to significantly increase the number of people with disabilities they hire. It also presents a formidable challenge. If employers will not have available, well trained people with disabilities to hire, these ground-breaking agreements may backfire, holding back the inclusion of people with disabilities for years to come.
About the Program
The Technology Accessibility Program (TAP) focuses on people with mental, emotional or cognitive disabilities. Thanks to an unparalleled base of hi-tech employers and flexible work models that adjust to the advanced work market’s changing needs, the program consistently reaches the highest quality job placement rates of any other program in the field.
TAP focuses on People with mental, emotional or cognitive disabilities who are unemployed or working in unskilled positions but exhibit motivation and great potential for success in advanced, technology-based employment.
TAP’s primary goal is to impart tools for successful and long-term skilled job opportunities to adults with mental health and communication disabilities. Additional goals are to integrate people with disabilities into the skilled technological market, and to include them in high-level employment of the modern economy, rather than continue their confinement to low-paid, unskilled positions. The long-term goals are for program participants to become economically independent, and to increase their life choices and opportunities. With TAP we also seek to change the perception of leading employers and the community at large regarding people with mental health and communication disabilities and their capacity to succeed in skilled positions.
Sigal Guterson, Counselling therapist