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Feeling the buzz of employment opportunities

Employment services participants are pounding the pavement
Monday April 4, 2011 — Kristian Partington

There’s a growing sense of optimism brewing in the employment services division of the Burnaby Association for Community Inclusion.

The person-centred employment service supports people who have a developmental disability by helping them discover their interests and skills.

The second aspect of training, known as Employment Program 10, focuses on practical skills, such as resumé writing and preparing for an interview.

On March 31, six program participants handed out around a dozen resumés and employment services manager Steve Withrington, is excited by the four or five interviews that came out of the event.

“These are competitive interviews,” he points out. “They’re not customized and the fact that people have been invited to competitive interviews is really a good thing.”

He says the benefit of a competitive interview is the experience the individuals earn from the process.

“We don’t know if anybody’s going to be successful or not but at the end of the day, if they’re not, that’s not a great loss because that whole experience of real interviews for real work through a competitive interview process is really good experience,” Steve says.

The day after the job fair, two interviews took place and Steve says the potential employer approached the interview from a “person-centred perspective, which was terrific.”

“It’s going to work so much better if business managers and potential employers are very much aware of that process to get to know the individual, the people, and what they can bring to the job,” he says.

A major aspect of fostering true societal inclusion is increasing the prospect of economic inclusion through employment.

“I do think people are becoming more aware,” he says.

“Traditionally the expectation, from my perspective, is that business managers or potential employers will be less likely to enter into conversation about the potential of them employing a person with a developmental disability.”

He says it may be too early too tell at what level this shift in outlook is occurring, but he says he and his fellow staff members in employment services, “are feeling quite positive about what has been happening over the last few weeks.”

If you’d like to share your story, feel free to call 800-294-0051, ext. 24, or e-mail kristian(at)axiomnews.ca.

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