With an aim to engage with employable Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) and to enable their participation in the mainstream workforce, Amazon India signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with five State Governments, including Haryana, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
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The MoU which extends until 2026 aims to provide skilling and employment opportunities to PwD candidates in the five states. This is in line with the PMO vision on inclusive development, and self-reliance to build an Atmanirbhar Bharat.
Through this initiative, Amazon aims to provide PwDs, the needed support with on-the-job training, intervention and an environment of acceptance and inclusion.
The opportunities will be provided across Amazon’s Operations Network, i.e., Fulfilment Centres, Sortation Centres and Delivery Stations for various roles, including stowing, picking, packing, and sorting among other roles.
Liju Thomas, Director – People Experience and Technology (PXT), India Operations, Amazon, said, “At Amazon India, we foster a culture that is conducive to growth and offers people equal opportunities to unlock their full potential.”
“With this initiative, we aim to focus on skilling and livelihood for PwD across Amazon India’s Operations network, over a period of 3 years”, Liju Thomas added.
“We thank the Governments of Haryana, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu for their relentless support. This complements our existing programs to provide employment opportunities to under-represented cohorts”, Liju Thomas further said.
Amazon India constantly works towards launching and scaling unique initiatives for the PwD cohort to help them find the right role fitment. With thousands of associates with Hearing and Speech Impairments playing invaluable role as part of Amazon India’s Operations network, the focus is on building a conducive environment that enables them to perform their roles.
The company has implemented several infrastructure accommodations to support associates with hearing and speech impairment. ‘SignAble’ is one such initiative which is a virtual and interactive interpreter platform that enables real-time communication between associates with hearing and speech impairments and other associates on the floor. This tool has resulted in higher collaboration and strengthened morale.
Through ‘SignAble’, Amazon India has enabled seamless trouble shooting and effective interaction. Amazon especially across fulfilment centres also provides workplace safety initiatives, such as customized safety orientation, interpreters or fellow associate “buddies” across shifts, a token system for tracking associate movements at work, and whistle/strobe light and paging systems for emergency communication.
In January 2017, Amazon India pioneered the ‘Silent Delivery Station’ through the Delivery Service Partner program in Mumbai, where the station is run by individuals with speech and hearing impairment.
Additionally, Amazon has initiatives designed to create opportunities for persons with hearing impairment in its operations sites. The pilot started in 2017 with a handful of associates with speech and hearing impairment, who were trained to pack shipments at the Amazon fulfilment centre.
This initiative has now expanded across our operations network across the country. These initiatives have created opportunities for many individuals and empowered them with financial independence and helped them realize their true potential.
Raj Kumar Makkad, Commissioner, Directorate of Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of Haryana said “There are 3,39,190 (three lakh thirty-nine thousand one hundred and ninety) persons with benchmark disabilities in Haryana and this MoU is in line with our vision to provide jobs to the state’s PwD citizens in both private and government sectors. This initiative will empower and enable meaningful opportunities for them. The social and financial empowerment of PWDs is extremely important in realizing prime minister’s vision for an Atmanirbhar Bharat. I congratulate and welcome Amazon India’s initiative towards building a more inclusive workforce.”
K. S. Lathakumari, Director, Department for the Empowerment of Differently Abled and Senior Citizens, Government of Karnataka said, “Karnataka state has made significant strides in supporting Persons with Disabilities (PwD), working in collaboration with the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities, Karnataka. The department has been meticulously gathering comprehensive data regarding individuals with disabilities, including information about their specific disabilities, as well as their educational and employment histories. This will enable us to find the right opportunities for them and the MoU with Amazon India is aligned towards this goal.”
Shri. Vishnudas Ghodke, Commissioner for Persons with Disability, Government of Maharashtra said, “In December 2022, the State of Maharashtra may be the first State in the country to have a separate Ministry for Divyang (differently-abled). This shows state’s commitment to ensure the welfare of the disabled and effective implementation of various government schemes for them. There are all types of people with disabilities (PwD) in the state and we aim to help them with education, jobs, scholarships, health, employment, travel facilities and rehabilitation. I would also like to congratulate Amazon for leading on diversity and inclusion initiatives over the years across its operations network. The MoU with Amazon is an extension to our goals towards the welfare of PwDs across the state.”