More job opportunities needed for persons with disabilities who have higher educational qualifications: Halimah Yacob

President Halimah Yacob during a visit to Micron Semiconductor Asia in Woodlands on June 29, 2021. ST PHOTO: GIN TAY
President Halimah Yacob watching a demonstration of how the Mixed Reality HoloLens allows experts to remotely assist on-site technicians in troubleshooting. ST PHOTO: GIN TAY

SINGAPORE - More needs to be done to provide job opportunities to persons with disabilities who have higher qualifications, said President Halimah Yacob on Tuesday (June 29).

While employment opportunities are increasing "somewhat incrementally" for persons with disabilities, they are still limited for those with higher education qualifications, she said.

Madam Halimah was speaking during a visit to Micron Semiconductor Asia in Woodlands, which has about 8,600 employees here and more than 40,000 staff globally.

Micron was the first technology company to sign the President's Challenge 2020 Enabling Employment Pledge, which signals a commitment to more inclusive hiring and supporting those with disabilities in the workforce.

"Under the President's Challenge, we are always looking for opportunities to expand the jobs that are available for people with disabilities, which are sometimes very much limited to jobs in the service sector," she said.

"We need to continue to look at ways of expanding opportunities for people (with disabilities) who have higher qualifications, such as in the technical fields, in engineering areas. Micron shows that it is doable," she added.

The semiconductor manufacturer has also set up a committee of employees who are focused on welcoming persons with different disabilities and fostering a climate of inclusion and equality within the workplace, said Micron corporate vice-president and Singapore country manager Chen Kok Sing.

This includes adapting the physical environment, job roles and professional development to the needs of different groups through means such as digital technology, he said.

During her visit, Madam Halimah spoke with several of Micron's employees with disabilities, such as Mr Eugene Ng, 23, a data science intern who has visual impairment. Micron provides him with assistive technology that converts text to speech, among other support.

She also learnt about Micron's automated solutions, such as the Automated Mobile Robot which can carry out repetitive tasks like shelving items, and the Mixed Reality HoloLens that allows experts to remotely assist on-site technicians in troubleshooting.

She also saw a demonstration of the Remote Operation Centre, which allows for remote working from one's desk, reducing the need to walk to and fro for persons with disabilities such as cerebral palsy.

Mr Chen said these solutions aim to open new opportunities and roles for employees with disabilities, which may not have been possible before, and assist them to be more engaged, confident and independent in their job roles.

He added that Micron also works with organisations such as SG Enable and the Cerebral Palsy Alliance Singapore to offer job opportunities and better support for persons with disabilities at the workplace.

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