What is the future of work for persons with disabilities?
Technology and adaptations by employers can help people with disabilities pick their own choice of work or find new career paths within organizations.
Shanti Raghavan is a Schwab Social Innovator, and founder of Enable India, an NGO that has impacted thousands of livelihoods across 19 disability types. This has resulted in a shift in narratives for persons with disability as valuable members of society, active citizens, taxpayers, change makers and more. 81% of persons with disability are supporting their families and 35% are primary bread winners (as per a survey). These include people with severe and multiple disability as well.
The above has been possible due to behaviour and process innovations, innovative employability (named SPICE framework) and technology innovations which she terms "workplace solutions". This has enabled disabled persons to work competitively in open labor markets,
Shanti is pioneering new work models for the future of work that are friendly for vulnerable populations such as persons with disability. She has spoken about this at the WEF.
Her work in disability has also provided her a unique lens on leadership which has led to defining the competency that leaders need to have to work with any kind of "difference" as "Includability".
She now works for systems change applied to the size of the population and envisions a world where persons with disability are valuable citizens with a great quality of life. She sees great opportunity for job creation for millions of people (non disabled and disabled) across India, and perhaps other developing and developed countries as well, using the lens of disability as a new sector for economic growth and job creation.
Founded in 1999, Enable India has impacted 300000 stakeholders across 28 states in India after Shanti's experience with her brother becoming blind at the age of 15. She has rich grassroots experience of 20+ years in the field. With her leadership and that of her husband and fellow Schwab Social Innovator, Dipesh Sutariya, Enable India has helped change the mindset of businesses and government agencies, and has built models and frameworks for inclusion, along with collectives to scale across the country and world coupled with products and open source platforms for scale.
Shanti is a National Award Winner from multiple presidents, is on the governing council member of the Skills Council for Persons with Disability (SCPwD). She was identified by Business Today as one of the Most Powerful Women in Business in 2017. She's also the winner of Times Now Global Amazing Indian Award, NCPEDP Shell Helen Keller Award, and the Zero Project award for Innovative Practice. She is an electronics engineer and holds an MS in Computer Science, USA, and has 12 years of experience in the software industry.