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Last Thursday iMerit Technology Services was honored to host Andy Leiberman and Paul Meissner from Santa Clara University’s Global Social Benefits Incubator (GSBI) as they made their way across India to look at some of the brightest new social enterprises in the country. Kolkata served as a nice break as the two moved north into Jharkhand to attend the 5th Annual XLRI Conference on Social Entrepreneurship who’s focus this year was right up our alley: Innovations in Livelihood Promotion and Skill Development. They couldn’t have picked a better place to visit!
The first stop on our tour was Metiabruz, which has become a central model for how we hope to expand centers into other parts of West Bengal and into other states. We wanted to highlight the three level training model that we have been using to connect trainees with work, even before they are billable to clients. This program is our On the Job Training (OJT) approach. The new trainees mobilized in Metiabruz will start in a part theoretical and part practice based IT training course focused around AIF’s Market Aligned Skills Training (MAST) curriculum. After their initial 320 hours of training students are moved to the OJT level which gives them supervised access to client projects. OJT workers will engage with basic client projects with the regular assistance of project team leads and full time staff. The advantage to this approach is that OJT trainees are paid for their work, so that they get the benefit of the job as soon as possible, while iMerit can efficiently ensure that graduates are ready to move into the full time employee positions when they are certified and capable of handling project deliverables.
iMerit is innovative because we believe that our employees can build more than just livelihoods. These IT service jobs in an expanding Indian IT market can become careers. This approach emphasizes that goal as we develop a system that allows for continual up-skilling based on the desires and goals of individual staff members. As Andy and Paul traveled the long road from Metiabruz to our center in Salt Lake and then finally to Anudip, we emphasized that we are far from finished in terms of building the model, which goes beyond our desire for expansion. The key is to be sustainable with every job we provide.
The next day we met up with them at XLRI where we could both share and learn from our experiences with other entrepreneurs and thought leaders in the social enterprise space across India.