Entering the workforce

Specific projects for people with disabilities, offering traditional qualifications and additional skills in the information technology (IT) field
Federico Bartolomei

The real living conditions of visually-impaired people are analyzed and understood by observing to what extent their personal needs are satisfied.

Full participation and inclusion in social, cultural, and working contexts is a requisite for achieving independence in daily activities – independence that consists of small and large things. First of all, it is important for young people and adults to know and be able to access visual education and rehabilitation services in order to receive appropriate tools and instructions on a timely basis, and to receive adequate instruction for satisfactory insertion in the workforce or to maintain their current work level. In addition to updated publication of information on supports available on the market and their use by final users in various contexts, the D.A.Re INVAT Register (www.invat.info) provides additional data to help define the current condition of visually-impaired people and their participation in the country’s social and cultural life. The Register works like an observatory, analyzing the data provided by numerous specialized centers in Italy (including the Cavazza Institute in Bologna) and providing updates on the real needs of the population. Understanding the needs of the most fragile means being able to design projects that reflect their individual needs, including by exploiting opportunities offered by new technologies.

The demographic composition of the adult population with visual impairment indicates that the largest category consists of the elderly, with an average age of 73.7 years, much older than the average age (46.5) of the Italian population (Istat – Italian National Institute of Statistics, 2023).

People working at a call-center

Therefore, it is no coincidence that the main cause of blindness and visual impairment in Italy is Senile Macular Degeneration, suffered by about 50% of the people coming to the centers.

But there are also large numbers of children, teens, and young adults who are blind or visually impaired due to other illnesses, and for whom the Cavazza Institute has always offered specific projects. Work remains a very critical issue for people with disabilities, as attested by gaps with the rest of the population and as pointed out by the D.A.Re Register in its reports on the number of people of working age who are still looking for their first job or for a new job due to their disability.

To help alleviate this problem, the Cavazza Institute offers a 1200-hour course, funded by the Emilia-Romagna Region, to train telephone operators. Participants can acquire a qualification of telephone operator (as customarily understood) as well as additional IT and communication skills (www.cavazza.it).


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