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Expanding opportunities

Improving the chances for the employability of the population, particularly amongst the groups in society that are more vulnerable and subject to discrimination in the job market, is today one of the great challenges for the ABC region of São Paulo ( Industrial suburbs around São Paulo), which is undergoing profound economic, political and social transformations. Worried about expanding the opportunities of employment for women and blacks, the city government of Santo André felt the need for a trustworthy diagnosis of the employment difficulties of these groups. This need came to be met by a project financed by FAPESP and coordinated by Márcia de Paula Leite, from Unicamp's School of Education, for which partnership were set up with, amongst other, the Brazilian Center for Analysis and Planning (Cebrap).

In the first stage of the project (first half of 2000), the proposed methodology was tested. Its objectives are: to produce a diagnosis of the problems in the inclusion of women and blacks, in the 90s, in the most traditional industries in the region – the automobile and chemical/petrochemical industries -, showing the major trends for changes in these segments and analyzing the way agents from society themselves (workers, NGOs, private companies, etc.) perceive these changes; to analyze the results of the diagnosis; to draw up a balance sheet of the various existing innovative ventures; to integrate the members of staff from the local administrative bodies with professionals from NGOs in the process of drawing up the diagnosis, so that they may be able to pass on their training when the project is finished.

The second stage of the project, which is forecast to end in February 2003, intends to extend the methodology applied in the first stage to the sectors of commerce, services and banks. “Our next action is a cycle of seminars for specialists and local agents, so as to qualify them and involve them”, says Márcia Leite. “In parallel, we will be carrying out the study and diagnosis in the commercial sector.”