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Originating from Spain, the Incorpora initiative has now arrived in Hungary and, as a result of the joint efforts of the Erste Foundation and the Spanish “La Caixa” Foundation, aims to guide disadvantaged job seekers to success on the labor market.

According to the latest figures from the Central Statistical Office (KSH), there are 226,000 registered unemployed in Hungary, meaning just 4.9% of the population is out of work. This marks a record low and pundits project further possible decreases. However, certain groups of workers continue to struggle to find work. The physically or mentally disabled, people over 45, the long-term unemployed, the unskilled and those living in extreme poverty have a particularly hard time.

New hope is on the horizon in the form of Incorpora, a highly successful program creating sustainable employment, which was developed and launched by the “La Caixa” Foundation in Spain in 2006. Now the initiative has been localized and “La Caixa” has joined forces with the Erste Foundation and six participating NGOs in order to make a difference.

During the program, professional integration managers support the work of both employers and job seekers to ensure successful employment. Assessing recruitment needs, determining the job profiles according to the needs of the company, supporting the screening and selection, as well as the integration process, and later monitoring are all part of the process. What makes Incorpora Hungary a unique program is the fact that NGOs who usually work on their own to integrate people in the job market have joined forces on a platform. They are working together by sharing knowledge, experience and expertise to integrate disadvantaged people from various backgrounds.

In the past five months, 90 disadvantaged persons have already been able to find a job with the help of Incorpora, the majority of whom found work in the service sector, especially at food chains and catering facilities, carrying out administrative duties and semi-skilled work.

“The Incorpora Hungary team produced results above expectations. The initial target was 100 employed people in the first year, and already before the mid-term of the project the results are very close to the final target,” said Franz Karl Prüller, senior advisor to the board of Erste Foundation. “On behalf of the companies, what we can observe is that it is sometimes challenging to attract companies to the project, but once they are convinced, they are willing to employ more than one person.”

According to Gyöngyvér Kiss, director of Incorpora Hungary’s coordinating NGO, Civil Impact, the real reason for the program’s competitiveness is that the participating NGOs operate as a network. “Thanks to the ‘La Caixa’ Foundation and Erste Foundation, all of our labor market services are free; as a result we can help the recruitment and selection process, and the preparation and integration of the disadvantaged employee from the very beginning,” she noted.