Novi Sad – On Wednesday, March 1, 2023, the Youth with Disabilities Forum presented the services that will be made available to people with disabilities and employers in Novi Sad and other parts of Vojvodina as part of the Economic Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities project, funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The project works to increase the participation of persons with disabilities in the labor market and strengthen their economic independence.

“The project will provide psycho-social support and career guidance for PWDs and help them to prepare job applications, while employers will be trained in how to create an inclusive work environment,” stated Jovana Krivokuća – Milovanović, executive director of the Youth with Disabilities Forum. “In the following year, in two local self-governments, the project will support innovative “start-up” financing models and companies that employ people with disabilities.”

Through the portal, developed with support from the European Union and Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), that serves to link persons with disabilities (PWDs) in search for employment with potential employers, they will be able to create their profiles and apply for vacant positions while employers will be able to select candidates directly from the platform.

“It is planned that the City of Novi Sad will allocate 20 million dinars for retraining in the IT sector, and priority will be given to people with disabilities, for whom we will provide free courses, and that is why we are looking forward to becoming a part of this story and this great project today”, stated dr. Nenad Ivanišević, Provincial Secretary for Economy and Tourism of the City of Novi Sad.

Dr. Lidija Tomaš, Acting Head of the City Administration for Social and Child Protection of Novi Sad, reminded that at the level of this local government, at the end of last year, a decision on accessibility was made, which will contribute to the overcoming of physical barriers within the framework of this project, and pointed out: “It is necessary to apply accessibility standards both in the facilities and in the workplaces for the employment of persons with disabilities.”

“The aim is to promote a labor market that is equal for everyone, and the media are important partners in this process” emphasized Ana Koeshall, the director of the Ana and Vlade Divac Foundation.

The Economic empowerment of persons with disabilities project is funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented by the Youth with Disabilities Forum. Other project partners are the Ana and Vlade Divac Foundation, Caritas of Serbia, Smart Kolektiv and the Center for Independent Living of Persons with Disabilities. It will be implemented country-wide with a focus on Belgrade, Novi Sad, Niš, Subotica, Zrenjanin and Valjevo.