Two new employees are earning recognition and support for inclusion in B.C.’s largest correctional facility, with help from an Oliver, B.C. agency.
A lot of work goes into opening the province’s largest prison. When Okanagan Correctional Centre (OCC) Warden Steve DiCastri needed workers to stock shelves and organize the building before its opening in Oliver, B.C. in October of 2016, he contacted Hovanes Community Services, a CLBC funded employment service provider.
Tara and Ron Hovanes worked their magic and a few days later, there were plenty of staff to help get the OCC up and running. Steve saw that the crew was hard working, happy to be there and were never late. It was such a positive experience, Steve decided to create a new long-term position and hired Kyle Anderson.
“We seek out the best talent and Kyle was the best person for the job,” says Steve.
Kyle has been working for almost two years at the OCC where he works half days, five days a week, receiving all the shipped items, organizing them and getting them ready to be delivered.
“I love my job and going to work every day,” says Kyle. “We are a team and we are always there for one another.”
“Kyle’s job involves many different tasks and requires a lot of organizational skill,” explains Steve. “Kyle has the same high level of training that everyone else receives and he is thriving in his environment. I see him becoming a full-time employee in the near future.”
Kyle recently received the Okanagan Correctional Centre Award of Excellence. “Kyle deserves to be honoured and celebrated for the great work he does each and every day,” says Steve. “He is never late, always happy to be here and gives 110 per cent.”
Bringing diverse skills to the table
After being fully operational for just over a year, the filing and office work kept piling up, so Steve decided to hire another person, Dayton Becker.
Dayton works part time as a file clerk adding special requests and other paperwork onto the electronic filing system. “There is so much to do here and its fun work,” says Dayton. “People are friendly and respectful. If I wasn’t so busy with school and my other job at the salon, I would come here everyday.”
“Dayton has been here for about four months now,” says Steve. “She does an excellent job and is a pleasure to have around the office. She has really come out of her shell.”
“We set the culture,” says Steve. “Having a broadly diverse and inclusive workplace brings a wider set of skills and perspectives to the table. Dayton and Kyle are right there with everyone, contributing to our success and I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
Oliver-based CLBC service provider Hovanes Community Services Ltd. has been providing job skills, community inclusion and life skills in the South Okanagan and South Similkameen for over 30 years. They make sure that every person they support has the ability to make the most of their skills and are fully involved in community.