OAS: Partnership in Opportunities for Employment through Technology in the Americas (POETA)

Partnership in Opportunities

In the spring of 2005, the Organization of American States’ (OAS) not-for-profit affiliate Trust for the Americas, teamed up with Microsoft to launch the Partnership in Opportunities for Employment through Technology in the Americas (POETA).

The partnership provides technology and job training centers for people with disabilities and other vulnerable groups throughout Latin America, helping them enter growing economic sectors including telecommunications, telemarketing and the hospitality industry.

POETA offers several complementary services:

  1. POETA Centers: Community Technical Learning Centers provide training to the disabled and serve as after-hour's community computer centers, providing Internet access and additional skills training.
  2. Job-readiness and job-placement training: Trains participants how to present themselves, write resumes, and address issues often faced by people with disabilities in the workplace.
  3. Awareness campaign: Informs and educates local businesses and government on the importance of giving fair employment access to the disabled.
  4. Job-placement: Actively seeks job placement opportunities, creating spaces where local business and participants meet to promote employment.

The organization's long-term goal is to have at least one center providing these services in every country in Latin America. Working with local partners, the Trust trains volunteer instructors on how to use software at each of the 100 centers in 19 countries, currently in operation. Additional training is given in the use of applicable adaptive technologies and, where appropriate, instructors are trained in job interview skills training and other relevant curricula.

In June 2010, POETA was highlighted as a best practice for contributing to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) targets by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).