Disability World
A bimonthly web-zine of international disability news and views • Issue no. 20 September-October 2003

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At least 66% of Working Age Persons with Disabilities in Spain are Unemployed
By Azucena Paredes (Solidaridad digital)

The sub director of Employment Promotion of the INEM, Juan Luis Vázquez, recognized that the unemployment figures are "a problem of great magnitude", not withstanding progress being made in previous years.

Vázquez, who participate in in the first part of the course: Disability and employment: new perspectives, held at the Menéndez Pelayo International University, said that 66% of persons with disabilities of working age are unemployed, the unemployment rate is higher among women.

The sub director of the INEM said that this isa "terrible" but also they are a challenge and a great urgency for the government, though there are no "universal solutions."

In this sense he mentioned that the transition from the Center for Special Employment to open job positions, has become a good option to foster access to employment of persons with disabilities. Mr. Vázquez also said that employment rate among persons with disabilities had increased by 4 percentage points thanks to sheltered employment and similar options, introduced in recent times.

Mr. Vázques affirmed that adequate policies have been undertaken to establish indefinite work contracts for persons with disabilities and that 70% of them enjoy this type of contracts. Among these labor alternatives, he mentions the Work Agreements between the INEM and the associations of persons with disabilities.

José Carlos Baura, sub director of Planning, Priorities, and Evaluation of the IMSERSO, the institution organizing this course, said: "There cannot be a real integration, until labor integration is achieved." And like Juan Luis Vázquez, he also thinks that: "There is a lot to be done" to bring the work opportunities of persons with disabilities to equal levels to those of the general population.

Speaking on behalf of the Vodafone Foundation, its General Director, José Luis Ripoll, participated, yesterday during the course "Broadband Services and Content", as part of the Summer Program of the International University Menéndez Pelayo, held at the Palacio de la Magdalena, in Santander. He shared with the group his thoughts on the possibilities of new information technologies and communication opportunities for persons with disabilities. And he also noted the many projects on telemedicine and teleassistance for senior citizens and persons with disabilities now available through broad band and its benefits for vulnerable groups.
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