Meet Tety Sianipar, a headhunter for the disabled
The Jakarta Post
Tety Sianipar is one of the youths selected to meet President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo in the Bogor Botanical Gardens’ Grand Garden Café, West Java, on Sunday. She was selected through Opini90, a program launched by online news video platform Opini.id to commemorate Youth Pledge Day.
A chief technology officer and co-founder of Kerjabilitas.com, a business and employment-oriented social network for the disabled, Tety is widely regarded to have made a great contribution to the welfare of the nation.
It was her experience interacting with the disabled that inspired her to establish Kerjabilitas.com, which aims to help them find jobs.
“I didn’t expect to be in the Top 10 [of Generasi Opini90], and I think maybe I was chosen because of my position at Kerjabilitas.com as CTO, a position that is often held by men,” Tety told The Jakarta Post.
Born in Cikampak, North Sumatra, on Jun. 30, 1987, Tety founded Kerjabilitas.com with Rubby Emir, who is now CEO of the company.
“We hope this platform can be used by people with all kinds of disabilities, and we ensure that it can be accessed with a screen rider by the blind. Users can search for vacancies and upload their CVs [onto the platform] because we encourage the disabled to apply for jobs themselves,” Tety said.
She added that her initial idea was to make a job portal similar to JobStreet.com for the disabled, but she didn’t think it was feasible because the disabled are usually directed to creating their own jobs and become entrepreneurs.
Meanwhile, Tety saw that many graduates from schools for the disabled (SLB) were in need of work. There are now seven universities who accept disabled students and Kerjabilitas.com would strive to boost their chances of joining the workforce.
In the early days of Kerjabilitas.com, Tety and Rubby held a focus group discussion to find out what the disabled need, how they have been struggling and whether they want to be corporate workers.
Some 9,000 disabled job seekers from across Indonesia are currently listed on the platform, including those with bachelor’s degrees and diplomas. Most, however, are middle school and high school graduates.
“We are partnered with 1,500 job providers, ranging from SMEs [small and medium enterprises] to multinational companies. There are also banks, and service and retail companies,” Tety said.
Kerjabilitas.com also offers job-matching services, connecting various types and ranges of disabilities with the right jobs. It also details, for example, where the physically disabled wear their prosthetics, whether or not they need wheelchairs, crutches or whether or not they can climb stairs.
Potential employers might also ask about the disabled’s abilities.
Surprisingly, Kerjabilitas.com discovered that many companies are willing to accept deaf employees to be placed in administrative positions, working on filing, for instance.
“The employers told us that deaf employees are highly productive […] That is how we started to match certain disabilities with certain jobs,” Tety said.
The startup also provides training for its users, covering career mentoring, how to be representable, how to pass interviews, letter writing and boosting their confidence.
Kerjabilitas.com also assists companies by screening jobseekers and assessing and accompanying them during interviews.
One of the main challenges the platform has faced so far is the lack of job opportunities for the blind. According to Tety, most companies still believe that blind employees would have to be accompanied by a guide at all time – which is untrue, she said.
As a result of the hard work of Tety and her team, Kerjabilitas.com gained recognition from Google and was one of eight startups chosen to join the Launchpad Accelerator program in Silicon Valley, the United States, and receive funding.
Tety is also an alumna of Jolkona Catalyst, a Seattle-based non-profit organization that collaborates with the US Department of State to provide social entrepreneurs mentorship, education and community.
When she met President Jokowi in Bogor on Youth Pledge Day, Tety spoke of the need to cooperate with Vocational Training Centers (BLK), to ensure wider access to job opportunities for the disabled.
“We think that by having a job, everyone has dignity, which is even more important for people with disabilities as they face social stigma because of their physical limitations,” said Tety. (mut)
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