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A pioneering project for the employment of intellectually challenged people


La Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M) and Fundación Alma Tecnológica have begun a pioneering project designed to prepare intellectually challenged individuals for employment. The Cátedra Alma Tecnológica (Alma Technology Chair), as it is known, promotes the creation of an educational space for the advanced training in new technologies such as computer science for people with intellectual disabilities.

Un proyecto pionero para la inserción laboral de personas con discapacidad intelectual

The closing ceremony and the awarding of diplomas took place on March 3rd in the Degree Hall of the Auditorium on UC3M’s Leganés campus. Present were: Nicolás Redondo Terreros, president of Fundación Alma Tecnológica; Mª Luisa González Cuellar, Vice-chancellor of Students, Social Responsibility and Equality at UC3M; Carlos Delgado Suárez, founding associate of Fundación Alma Tecnológica, Muriel Artabe Enríquez, director of Personnel Management, of Vector ITC Group; Edna Ruckhaus, the academic coordinator of the project; and Juan Llorens, tenured professor of Computer Science at UC3M and academic director the Cátedra Alma Tecnológica.

This is the first initiative that offers employment opportunities based on the needs of the market. That is, the people with intellectual disabilities have been trained in concrete digital and technical skills and selected based on the current requirements of companies working in the technology sector. In this way, the students who have been part of this first graduating class are now part of UC3M’s jobs bank, but they also have access to positions through other associations and private entities. The technology consulting firm Vector ITC Group has hired seven of the eight students, and they have already begun working at their facility.

The project began on September 21st of last year, with the signing of the agreement by UC3M’s Chancellor and the founding associate of Fundación Alma Tecnológica. The Chair, which began four months ago, has been taught on the UC3M campus. By starting up the Cátedra Alma Tecnológica project, promoted and taught by UC3M through its Computer Science Department in conjunction with Fundación Alma Tecnológica, the hope is to contribute to improve the social integration of the intellectually challenged, offering ad hoc training through special, adapted programs. The didactic plan of these classes is based on a system whereby the detailed presentation of the contents and their structured practice help lead to the successful outcome of the training. Moreover, the support personnel and the teaching staff are two key factors in the successful development of the program.

“The importance of this project is that it is focused on offering specialized training to individuals who, in general, have more difficulty entering the labor market. We are very proud to offer real work opportunities, because this project is not just written on paper, but rather is applied to the current labor market. Thanks to the CAT the students are already working in the positions they have been trained for and, furthermore, they are working in the field of technology, one of the fields with the greatest demand for employees,” points out Nicolás Redondo, president of the Fundación Alma Tecnológica.

The chosen discipline is that of new technologies, so the training was applied to the general needs of the industry. Vector ITC Group collaborated in elaborating the professional profiles that are currently the most highly demanded; among those that stand out are: systems technician, document digitalization technician, test technician and technical equipment technician.

The courses that were taught centered on basic computer training, security systems, computer applications, advanced internet searches, tools for collaborative work and the use of different multimedia systems, among other subjects. In addition, the teaching team carried out research based on the results of the project, in terms of the students’ learning and their experience, as well as on their own experience, with a view to learning, innovating and improving the results of future graduating classes of the Cátedra.

The second class of students began their course on February 15th, and their studies are expected to continue for four months. Both the Fundación Alma Tecnológica and the UC3M, through its Foundation’s Servicio Orientación & Empleo (Orientation and Employment Service), continue to work with dedication on helping the students of these graduating classes as well as future classes gain access to the labor market. “Our objective now is that more companies, in addition Vector ITC Group, support this type of initiative. It is a joy to give more opportunities to all of these talented people and to transmit peace of mind to them and to their families by offering them a secure future”, concludes Nicolás Redondo.

La Fundación Alma Tecnológica is dedicated to helping people who don’t give up, who take on challenges and who fight to improve. Constituted in November of 2014, the Fundación Alma Tecnológica works toward improving the lives of people with different abilities and/or those at risk of social exclusion, who they help toward full family, social and employment integration and the development of a normal life, giving special attention to fomenting and developing universal access to technology, and communication and information media.

La Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M) is an innovative public university, committed to the improvement of society through education of the highest quality, and cutting edge research, according to the strictest international guidelines. UC3M is listed in the QS ranking of the 50 top universities under 50 years old.