When designed thoughtfully and with intention, technology impacts all our systems in unique and irreplaceable ways. Aside from the more evident economic and scientific contributions, tech can empower societies to live better, such as through improving health and well-being and increasing opportunities for participation. The Accessibility Hackathon recently launched by Kaufland Romania calls attention to these possibilities in using tech innovation.
Aimed at supporting diversity and equality of opportunity in the labour market for people with disabilities, the project is a natural extension of the company’s social impact activities. Back in 2019, the company started ACCES (Hiring Candidates with Special Requirements and Developments) as a way to open dedicated recruitment channels for people with disabilities and ensuring their integration and growth within the team.
Accessing the job market is a complex process, with numerous steps requiring different abilities and thorough preparation. For people with disabilities, the process may pose additional challenges that could be easily surpassed through relevant solutions.
Consider, for instance, psychometrics tests, often used by employers to get insights into candidates’ cognitive abilities and potential to excel in a position. People with certain disabilities require special accommodations that would allow them to access and finish the test in such a way that their disability does not become a disadvantage. Think of being able to use only one hand, for example; this could translate to fairly receiving more time to perform all the physical tasks involved. Yet not all employers are open to such accommodations.
Surpassing accessibility challenges, one piece of code at a time
This is where the Accessibility Hackathon steps in, proposing an exciting target to coders: developing technology-centred tools to surpass challenges across the different aspects of employment.
The solution could help simplify the application process, by helping people with highlighting their strengths and surpassing any roadblocks. It could also facilitate the formal employment process, where documents need to be gathered, completed and signed. Finally, the tool could address the process of integrating the new employee into the team, streamlining communications.
Between March 17th and April 14th, the social hackathon is expecting candidate applications from teams of 3 to 6 professionals passionate about coding. Once the competition starts, the participating teams will be assisted by mentors in developing unique solutions and the final pitch presentation. The event, which will be available online, is scheduled for May 14th and the grand prize consists of $16,000.
Ensuring that workplaces and employment opportunities are inclusive to all candidates is essential to building stronger, equal communities and involving professionals across different sectors brings in more diverse perspectives and capabilities. Through the hackathon, the tech and innovation community has a great opportunity to shed light on a significant social challenge and address it in unique ways.