American India Foundation (AIF), made of India diaspora in the United States, is imparting vocational training for differently abled youth in seven States, including Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, besides New Delhi. With the training curriculum being framed after consulting local industries, the placement rate was nearly 74 per cent.
The foundation that was currently running five major initiatives had benefited 1.7 million disadvantaged persons in 22 States, according to its Chief Executive Officer M.A. Ravi Kumar, who was in India for the past few days to review ongoing projects.
In an interview to The Hindu here on Friday, he said that around 6,000 differently abled persons in the age group of 18 to 25 have already been trained in recent months. Despite an initial reluctance, companies were now willing to recruit differently abled youngsters, due to their high levels of concentration and lower attrition levels. The initiative was part of the Market Aligned Skills Training programme, in which the foundation went to the urban slums and identified socially and economically disadvantaged youth such as school dropouts. A market survey was carried out in the locality to identify the industries and ascertain their job requirements.
Following this, local community leaders and Government departments identified candidates and the Foundation gave them a 90-day training in vocations such as tailoring, automobiles mechanical works, computer skills or hospitality.
A 30-day internship was also arranged followed by a placement drive. More than one lakh youngsters have been trained under this initiative so far. The Chief Executive Officer said AIF had set a target to reaching out to five million marginalised people by 2018. In its 12 years of operations, the AIF had so far provided assistance out to 1.9 million persons.
Towards this, it was planning to step up its fund-raising drive to support the expansion of all its programmes. The foundation was now raising around Rs. 40 crore per year to fund its project.
The Corporation had inked a three-year MoU with AIF to implement a ‘Digital Equaliser’ Programme in all the 27 Corporation schools through which information technology is utilised for teaching the students.