Providing Vocational Education and Jobs for Young People with Intellectual Disabilities

Young people with intellectual disabilities in Poland are at high risk of social exclusion and unemployment. Currently, less than 0.1% of people with intellectual disabilities participate in the labor market. Siedlisko is a social enterprise that offers vocational training and dignified employment opportunities to youth with intellectual disabilities and to long-term unemployed people from rural areas. The enterprise employs these groups in its nursing home to provide full-time care for seniors and people with chronic illnesses, and also to deliver catering services to local companies, individuals and public institutions. To date Siedlisko had provided vocational training to over 40 young people with intellectual disabilities.

NESsT has been supporting and investing in Siedlisko since 2014. NESsT’s initial investment of USD 79,000 (value of financial and non-financial support) helped Siedlisko to refine its business model, pay for construction costs and equipment, and build the professional skills of the team. Since opening the centre in 2015, Siedlisko has reached break even and is now planning to expand its facility and services providing even more employment opportunities for people with disabilities. To learn more about Siedlisko, please visit their facebook fanpage or website.

NESsT is collaborating with SiedliskoCoders Lab and Dimpact within the NESsT Empowers program that tackles the lack of quality, skilled jobs available for under-served communities. The program invests in social enterprises that prepare people from these communities for dignified employment. It does this by engaging with corporations in high growth industries to partner with social entrepreneurs in designing demand-led workforce curricula and preparing at-risk communities for labor inclusion. In addition to training, these enterprises provide program beneficiaries with first-time employment opportunities in the enterprises themselves as well as rehabilitation and integration support once they begin to work. The premise of the program is that social enterprises are particularly suited for preparing at-risk communities, given their in-depth understanding of the realities faced by these communities and their proven track record in addressing these realities. The program has created more than 3,500 skilled employment opportunities to date and in the next five years, the goal is to scale NESsT Empowers by doubling its impact and creating 7,000 skilled jobs.

The NESsT Empowers program is a collaborative initiative made possible by funding from J.P. Morgan.

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