Skilled in skilling. Abling the disabled.
It is inspirational to help the poor. Or the disabled. Or the young in remote villages of rural India. Meera Shenoy has transformed lives in all three categories. She has pioneered a training model that skills underprivileged youth for jobs in todayÍs market. She has achieved this, while in leadership positions in the government, the private sector, and presently, in a social enterprise.
Meera Shenoy is the Founder-Chairperson of Youth4Jobs (www.youth4jobs.org), which focuses on helping companies build an inclusive workforce. In just three years, Y4J has become one of the largest organisations in India in the field. It has reached out to over 100,000 rural households, trained 4500 disabled youth, and placed 70% in jobs, and 40% of these are girls with disabilities.
Meera was awarded the NCPEDP-Shell Helen Keller award in 2012. Her disability work was featured online in the Harvard Business Review and the Stanford Social Innovation Review.
In 2004, Meera was asked to join the Andhra Pradesh government to initiate and lead IndiaÍs first Jobs Mission for rural and tribal youth. She changed the focus of the governmentÍs work from ïtraining for trainingÍs sakeÍ, to market-speaker_image_uried training programs for youth, including the last mile of placing them in jobs. Meera Shenoy has uniquely shown, that large-scale job training and placement can be done, and in a short period. When she left in 2010, the Jobs Mission had become one of the largest jobs mission for the poor, with 150,000 rural and tribal youth placed in jobs, over 5 years. Scale in hirings came from training innovations tailored to market needs, such as creating IndiaÍs first grass-roots program in English, work readiness and computer skills. A unique IT architecture speaker_image_uried to e-payment ensured transparency.
The Jobs Mission work won several awards including the South Asia Manthan award for e-inclusion. It was featured in Knowledge@Wharton and the Wall Street Journal.
Meera was commissioned by the ILO to do their India country strategy, for persons with disability and labour markets. From 2012-14 she was Senior Advisor, UNDP, for youth skilling and employment. She also supported the office of the Chairman, National Skill Development Agency, the highest policy making body in India in this field. For the past seven years she has also worked as a World Bank consultant in youth and skilling, in their poverty alleviation projects across South Asia.