Increasing Disability Employment in Saudi Arabia

ICI (MA) Provides Training and Consultation

May 10, 2014

ICI's Shelia Fesko and Karen Flippo with a Saudia Arabian Ministry Representative
ICI's Shelia Fesko and Karen Flippo with a Saudia Arabian Ministry Representative

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Labor is leading an effort to employ 100,000 people with disabilities. While 183,000 people with disabilities are registered as looking for work, most of these have never been employed (it is estimated 4.15 million people with disabilities reside in the country). The employment initiative is based on the belief that with proper guidance and support, people with disabilities can work and become productive members of their communities.

In March, the Ministry contracted with the Institute for Community Inclusion, UMass Boston, to provide training to 50 newly hired individuals who will be providing job development and career counseling to people with disabilities, through an agency known as the Human Resource Development Fund, which is similar to the American Job Centers in the U.S. Sheila Fesko and Karen Flippo, ICI staff members, provided four days of training to HRDF staff. This training was followed by a one-day seminar on the topics of recruiting, hiring, accommodating, and training people with disabilities with human resource staff from six major companies in the Kingdom These six companies are the founding members of Qaderoon, a business-to-business disability network formed to garner interest and support in hiring people with disabilities. Qaderoon's inaugural event coincided with the ICI training and featured another speaker from the United States, Mark Donovan, Vice Chairman of the Marriott Foundation for People with Disabilities which operates the long-running and highly successful Bridges from School to Work programs.

photo: Saudia Arabian staff