Logistics without barriers. The HOMER program supports the position of blind people on the labor market (partner's material)

Luc Williams

The HOMER program, which was implemented at the Amazon Logistics Center in Bielany Wrocławskie at the beginning of this year, has just completed its pilot phase. Its aim is to enable blind and visually impaired people to find employment in logistics centers. The program has already brought the first results: 5 people with visual disabilities have been introduced smoothly and are performing their duties in their new workplace. The success of the initiative will translate into an increase in the number of jobs for blind and visually impaired people in Amazon logistics centers throughout Poland to 50.

Dominika Bąk-Majka, Senior Operations Manager at Amazon / photo: press materials

Currently, the HOMER program provides blind and visually impaired people with work in the process of packing, receiving goods and manual sorting of parcels. We are also checking the possibilities of expanding the employment of program participants in other logistics centers. We make every effort to ensure that our employees have no limitations when it comes to how they can realize their professional potential – says Dominika Bąk-Majka, Senior Operations Manager at Amazon, co-creator of the program.

Local government signals

The program is the result of Amazon's cooperation with the Marshal's Office of the Lower Silesian Voivodeship, whose representatives reported to the company the need to create new and safe jobs for blind and visually impaired people in the region. This is how the suggestion of the local government became the driving force for initiating the HOMER program.

– As the Marshal's Office, we take care of the Lower Silesian Special Educational and Educational Center, the aim of which is to adapt people with disabilities to their professions. Therefore, we want the school graduates to be able to pursue their careers and have employment prospects after completing their studies. We are extremely pleased that Amazon has joined the HOMER program – says Krzysztof Maj,Member of the Board of the Lower Silesian Voivodeship. – Professional activation of people with disabilities is extremely important. Let us remember that they have the same – and sometimes even greater – skills than people who are fully functional. Therefore, we must pay special attention to the availability of jobs that will enable them to have a satisfying career on a partnership basis – he adds.

photo: press materials

A unique project by an engineer from the Wrocław University of Science and Technology

The implementation of the HOMER program involved many challenges. The logistics center in Bielany Wrocławskie had to be appropriately adapted to employ people with visual disabilities. Therefore, an engineer from the Wrocław University of Science and Technology, who is also a blind person, was involved in the preparatory phase. As part of the cooperation between the university and Amazon, Marek Tankielun tested solutions that allow workstations to be adapted to the needs of blind and visually impaired people. In addition, he planned, among others: communication path for moving around the distribution center, carried out all necessary tests on workstations and verified the online recruitment form, which was adapted to the software used by blind and visually impaired people.

– On a daily basis, I consult on accessibility projects for blind people related to public space. In the case of the HOMER program, the biggest challenge was to adapt the space in such a way that moving around it was clear and free from obstacles – says Marek Tankielun from the Wrocław University of Science and Technology. – Some aspects, such as getting to the workstation or going to the table in the employee canteen, may seem trivial to able-bodied people. Meanwhile, for people with visual disabilities it is not that easy. This requires appropriate facility infrastructure that will provide them with complete independence. I know this very well because I belong to this community myself – he adds.

Despite stereotypes

In Poland, candidates with visual disabilities often struggle with professional exclusion, which is the result of erroneous beliefs that they are unable to perform most duties. Amazon's initiative breaks these stereotypes and shows that blind and visually impaired people can successfully pursue their careers in various areas. In this way, the company once again proves that it consistently strives to equalize opportunities in the workplace, and inclusivity is a permanent element of its DNA.

photo: press materials

In addition to the HOMER program, Amazon has also been running the MigaMY program since 2020, under which it offers 140 adapted jobs in its logistics centers in Poland for deaf and hard of hearing people. In total, under both programs, the company can employ 190 employees with visual and hearing disabilities. Moreover, the employer constantly cares about the culture of equality and supports all groups that may feel excluded, while focusing on diversity and integration at every level of the organization. A great example of this are programs for women that support them in developing and improving their competences, and the Glamazon group, which builds awareness of the LGBTQ+ community.


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