In the framework of the project “We sign for Jobs” supported financially from the Small Grants for Democracy Program of the Democracy Commission of the USA Embassy in Tirana, during February and March 2022 CCIS and ANAD worked together and trained 136 young people from the community deaf from all over Albania. The purpose of the training program was to promote opportunities in employment and economic development for the Deaf community in Albania.
The training was guided from the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Sustainable Development Goals to promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all, the international community aims to achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all women and men, including for persons with disabilities, and equal pay for work of equal value, and Albanian legislation. New and revised employment promotion programs in accordance with the new law 15/2019 “On employment promotion” aims at supporting the most vulnerable groups and registered unemployed jobseekers benefiting from these programs; provides and supports employment, advice, and professional qualification for people with disabilities.
The objectives of the training program were: to inform and train deaf community in 12 districts in Albania about employment opportunities, according to potential programs and access to information and to collaborate with Public administration structures (ADISA Integrated Services Center and National Employment and Skills Agency (NESA) to complement the procedures for employment of deaf community.
Most deaf adults are physically able to work, but major obstacles to their employment include access to information due to linguistic barriers and limited skills. However, deaf people who are employed or self-employed generally had unskilled, low-paying, non-academic jobs. This is understandable, given that their educational path currently ends at ninth grade and that the Institute of Deaf Students provides orientation for only three occupations: carpentry and shoe making for boys, and dressmaking for girls.
According to their discussions during the training the top sectors in which deaf people are employed include manufacturing, healthcare, retail, professional services, and construction. The trainings sessions have also shone fresh light on some of the specific barriers to career progression, such as the lack of deaf role models in work and insufficient networking opportunities. Deaf young people are already less likely to be employed than their hearing peers and this concerning report shows some of the reasons why.
If they’re deprived of good quality, accessible careers advice at this pivotal stage of their life, it puts them at a serious disadvantage before they’ve even moved into the world of work.
Those that do find a job are arriving with incredible skills to offer, but all too often they’re unfairly held back by a real lack of support, inclusion and deaf awareness.
Deaf young people are capable of anything, but unless they get the support they need, a generation of potential risks going to waste.
Since the education system for deaf people during their school years has failed and they have hardly any chance to work and earn their living and so to participate fully in Albanian society, adult professional training programs should be offered in sign language, free of charge as gateway training for enhancing their employment opportunities; joint sessions with Chamber of Commerce needs to be held, a synergy with other similar project for People with disabilities (PwD) needs to be created, informing them about employ¬ment programs, training for employment, and the opportunity to use a sign language interpreter should be offered.