Sharing knowledge on employment
On May 26, about 100 service providers, agency staff and CLBC staff gathered at the Capilano University Sportsplex for a day-long forum to share, learn and talk about inclusive employment, and new approaches to employment supports. Mary McLaughlin, a self-advocate who works with the North Vancouver CLBC office, was MC for the day. CLBC, Capilano University, self-advocates, family members, community partners and service providers made presentations about their employment initiatives. The event was organized in partnership by the CLBC North Vancouver Community Planning and Development office and Capilano University.
“I enjoyed working with CLBC to put this event together,” said Kathy Moscrip, Career Access Coordinator for Capilano University. “I will support anytime we can get people together to learn from one another, particularly when it is a subject as important as inclusive employment.”
There were a total of seven sessions throughout the day, ranging from CLBC’s report on the progress of the Customized Employment program to resources available for activities that can help prepare a person for employment. Some of the highlights included:
Kathy Moscrip presented on the Capilano Access Work Experience programs that teach life, literacy and employment skills to adults with developmental disabilities. The programs provide a combination of in-class instruction and practical work experience. Admission requirements for the program include a motivation to work, self-management skills, and the ability to attend and participate in work experience placements independently and with little supervision from program faculty.
Barb Penner, CLBC’s Employment Initiative Coordinator, shared with participants the progress CLBC has made to date on Customized Employment. Customized Employment has been testing a new approach to connecting potential employees with employers; the project was developed with feedback from families, adults, service providers and employers in 2007. Staff from the agencies involved in the project discover what an adult’s interests, skills and abilities are, and then work with employers to create a job that fits the person. Training courses on Customized Employment are now available for service provider staff across the province.
Gladys Duran and Barb Goode from the Empowering Self Advocates to Take Action Committee (ESATTA), a cooperative of self-advocates who develop and teach workshops on goal setting and empowerment, talked about their organization. Members of ESATTA are self employed by making presentations of the workshop “People Planning Together” which gives self-advocates a stronger voice in community and their lives. The group has presented throughout Canada, and in the United States. “Only by working together can we get things done,” said Gladys during her presentation.
WOW!clbc 2011 Award winner and BC Personal Support Network (BCPSN) staff member Paul Gauthier shared his life story with the people attending the forum. As a young man, Paul was told he would not be able to live independently. Today, he is a Paralympian, a foster parent, advocate for disabilities and a father to a growing toddler. “It’s so important that we don’t judge people’s goals but support them,” said Paul. “People’s goals often change over time, but the most important thing is for people to participate and be out in community.”
To find out more about CLBC’s approach to Employment, please visit the CLBC website under Individuals and Families > Employment Initiative. You can also visit www.BCEmployNet.org to view a comprehensive list of service provider resources for Customized Employment.