06 / 1993
The cooperative "Linea" was started in December 1988 as a follow up of a vocational training held by the cooperative Tangram (Vimercate)and supported by the European Social Fund and the Lombardy Region. Linea aims at offering appropriate job opportunities to young (physically and/or mentally)handicapped people within the framework of regional law (No. 67)that allows regional public financial contributions for cooperative activities. Over the years there has been a regular turnover in the cooperative’s staff. At present,Linea employs 10 disabled people and three tutors who are in charge of the general organization of the work and of further training. All 13 (4 female, 9 male)workers have the same salary of around 1.000.000 It. Lire (670 US $).
Special attention is given to adapt the physical features of the workplace to the needs of the workers and not the other way round. Linea deals with printing and typesetting work and it has recently bought new computrs to facilitate and improve quality. One of its best client is the municipality (comune)of Vimercate, but 70% of its work is being done in the private sector, expecially for other associations. It has a total budget of around 140.000.000 It. Lire (around 930,000 US $).
Members of the cooperative are regularly holding meetings and they organize internal training sessions in order to share knowledge and information and to update each other on activities going on. Cooperation with the local Public Health Service (USL 60)is particularly positive and it has resulted in free psychological consultancy by the USL in return for vocational training couses offered by Linea for people identified by the USL.
The internal evaluation is very positive about the Linea’s cohesion with its basic principles and relationships of solidarity existing amongst its members. The fact that it has not been able to create more job opportunities is felt as a present limitation which is due to unsufficient self-promotion and management skills. These skills need to be developed in order to create a more balanced relationship between the social quality of this small enterprise and its financila aspects.
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