|A Microsoft Korea employee teaches coding to a disabled child in this photo from the company, Friday. / Courtesy of Microsoft Korea|
By Baek Byung-yeul
SK Telecom (SKT) and Microsoft Korea have been cooperating to improve the information and communications technology (ICT) capabilities of people with disabilities in an effort to increase their employment rate.
The companies said Friday that they held an online seminar in conjunction with the Korea Employment Agency for Persons with Disabilities (KEAD). Under the theme of "AI for Accessibility," the online seminar introduces various accessibility technologies and tools that utilize Microsoft's AI and cloud computing technologies.
Microsoft said it established cooperative relationships with its partner companies to address the employment problems of people with disabilities and strengthen their digital capabilities. For years, the IT giant has shown its commitment to developing accessibility technologies for the disabled with its products and services.
From October to November, the company provided technological mentoring to participants in a skills contest in making ICT-based assistive devices for the disabled. The contest was co-organized by SK Telecom and KEAD.
Friday's online seminar was in line with its effort to help the participating teams to better utilize AI and intelligent cloud computing technologies when developing assistive technologies and devices.
"In this upcoming intelligent information society, the importance of accessibility technology that connects between various services related to the Fourth Industrial Revolution and users are being increasingly highlighted," a Microsoft Korea official said during the seminar.
SK Telecom also revealed its will to keep helping people with disabilities find more jobs by beefing up support programs.
"SK Telecom is working to establish and expand job programs designed for people with disabilities that utilize ICT. We will also keep strengthening cooperation with the related organizations and companies," an SK Telecom official said.
Taking the online seminar as an opportunity, KEAD said it would try to increase awareness toward ICT-based assistive technology and devices and consequently improve the country's capabilities in the assistive technology device industry.
Microsoft has been expanding its support program to increase the employability of people with disabilities in Korea.
In September, the Korean unit launched the Microsoft Enabler program in conjunction with the country's non-profit organizations such as Junior Achievement Korea (JA Korea) and Korea Differently Abled Federation (KODAF) to help increase Korea's employment rate of people with disabilities.
Along with the National Institute of Special Education and JA Korea, the company also has been developing data and Internet of Things (IoT) education content for people with disabilities.