Report on using technology to help at-risk youth and people with disabilities gain employment


Researchers at the Technology and Social Change Group in the University of Washington in Seattle (Joyojeet Pal, Jay Freistadt, Michele Frix, and Phil Neff) have recently released an important report on the impact of technology training on the employment prospects of at-risk youth and people with disabilities in five countries in Latin America.

The report’s findings are “broadly divided by the themes that emerged in the coded transcripts of our conversations on the ground. Under environmental factors, we discuss issues around the prevalent discourse of technology that underlines the ways in which the various stakeholders imagine the role of computers and technology training within the larger social and economic ecosystems. An important environmental factor is the aspirational environment, for the role it plays in peoples’ willingness to participate in such training programs. Finally, structural issues around the labor market form the third set of environmental factors that are extremely important, given that both populations discussed here have histories of geographical and institutional exclusion from formal employment opportunities”.

It is good to see these important issues examined in detail; ICTs can indeed make a significant difference to the lived experiences of people with disabilities and at-risk youth

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Report on using technology to help at-risk youth and people with disabilities gain employment

  1. Usi Omondiagbe

    This article brings to light the view that globalization is fast promoting the advantage of the modernized/cosmopolitan citizens of the third world over the more rural class. This new form of exclusion/inclusion between two publics in a country also plays out in the employment sector, where one’s chances of earning a good living is now more secure by his/her level of Westernization such as computer knowledge. What happened to agro skills?

  2. Sharon N

    This is a very interesting post. I think that it is important to empower both at-risk youth and those with disabilities, since they are very likely to have felt marginalized throughout their lives. By having access to technology, which has certainly become an important medium to gain education, these individuals have the opportunity to “keep up” with their peers. Although, I agree with Usi’s comment in the sense that there are jobs in agriculture, at least having the knowledge of technology gives these individuals more viable options. It is possible that even if such individuals are trained in technology skills, they would opt to pursue jobs in agriculture, especially if their families stress the importance of this sector.

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