Disability Employment Month Success Stories - Part 2

27 September 2017
Joshua –Smithers – Youth/PWD
Take to Heart in Revelstoke, BC makes magic. Sourcing waste wood from local mills, they turn them into tables, walls, stools and anything else they can think of. Working with a WorkBC case manager and job developer Josh secured employment and loves every minute of it.

Josh had been a client with the Revelstoke WorkBC Employment Services Centre since November 2015. Through the customized employment process, it was determined that he enjoyed working with wood as well as working with numbers.

“This is a great job,” he says. “I like edging the best.” Josh placed a board on rollers, lining it up along the tape marks that the Take to Heart owner put there for him, and feeds the board through the edger which removed the curved sides. Then he flips it over and does it again.

“Josh is working out very well here. He also really likes driving the bobcat and he takes care of the garden,” says the owner. With plans to build a sustainable community on Take to Heart’s land, the owner has planted vegetables, blueberries, nectarines, peaches and strawberries and one of Josh’s tasks is to keep them watered. Josh also stacks wood into half cords, and a jig (frame) was built to make it easier for Josh to keep the stack in line.

The partnership is working out so well that Josh’s hours have increased, to the delight of all. Josh’s mother is also thrilled. “I think it’s a really good work environment for him,” she says. “We’re really happy.”

Visit the WorkBC Centre Smithers to learn more about the employment services and supports offered.

Craig – WorkBC Kamloops – Open Door Group - PWD
Craig first accessed service at Kamloops WorkBC Employment Services Centre in May of 2012. He presented with a mild developmental disability as well as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). From the first engagement, he found work at Dollarama but could not maintain the employment. He could not provide exactly when that employment ended but stated that he had worked as a dishwasher at an ABC Restaurant but that they closed down after he had worked for a couple of weeks. Craig liked that work so he wanted to try and find work as a prep cook.
Craig’s action plan included a Formal Needs Assessment (FNA) which determined that he would benefit from having a Disability Related Employment Needs Assessment (DRENA). He received the DRENA assessment and it was again determined that he would benefit from a Psychological/Vocational Assessment. Craig then completed the Discovery profile and went to work at Dollarama.  He also received job development services and wage subsidy.
Quote from Craig, “Society has provided me many benefits and I just want a job and I can make my contribution to society.”
Visit the WorkBC Centre Kamloops to learn more about the employment services and supports offered.

Anna – WorkBC Employment Centre Westside – Immigrant & PWD
Anna was laid off her last job due to financial difficulties her employer had experienced. She had been looking for work for 7 months before contacting her local WorkBC Employment Services Centre. During that time she was volunteering extensively, networking, developing her resume and cover letter and attending job hiring events. Before that, she was working in the non-profit sector doing mostly community and social work.

Anna found that this year it was particularly difficult to find employment in the non-profit sector in the Lower Mainland. She noticed job postings were less than before and more casual positions rather than full-time ones. She still applied for casual and part-time positions with little results and was told by employers that there is an enormous amount of qualified applicants this year. Being an immigrant and having foreign credentials presents a considerable additional challenge in finding employment and networking. However, she worked very hard to overcome any barriers to employment and went above and beyond. Upon arriving to Canada, she attended workshops on job search techniques, resume writing and expectations of Canadian employers. In addition, she volunteered, acquired local credentials and considerable work experience in the non-profit sector. Yet she still found it was almost impossible for her to find a job on her own this year. While unemployed she became pregnant and needed to find work as soon as possible to acquire enough hours to be able to receive Maternity Benefits.

Anna was successful in her attempts to find employment in previous years on her own and acquired job search experience. She became an expert in using job search engines and acquired considerable knowledge regarding employment opportunities in her field. She was very surprised that she was unable to find work on her own this year. Anna realized that without professional help, especially connecting her to employers who are looking for qualified applicants, she would not be able to find employment under the current market conditions.

Her WorkBC Case manager referred her to just one workshop on interview skills and also connected her to a job developer. Both of them reviewed her resume and cover letter and provided constructive criticism and suggestions on how to improve them. She also made use of the drop in support at the centre where a worker on duty answered any questions she had about tailoring her cover letter and resume to a particular job posting. Anna’s case manager sent her information about upcoming job fairs. Anna’s job developer sent her positions she considered suitable. Finally, Anna received a job posting, which was not posted through the regular job posting engines but sent directly to the WorkBC centre and she applied. She was invited to an interview and hired. WorkBC provided Anna with work clothing to assist her in her new employment.

The job is a short-term contract for three months in the non-profit field. It is a meaningful type of work for a reputable community service agency. Despite being a short-term contract, it is considerable career advancement for Anna. Having this job on her resume will help open more doors in the future. It is exactly what she was looking for. In addition, it gave her enough hours to go on maternity leave.

Visit the WorkBC Centre in Vancouver to learn more about the employment services and supports offered.

Crystal – WorkBC Vernon –North Okanagan – PWD
Prior to entering case management, Crystal had successfully had part time employment in various positions for as long as three years. Her employment situation became precarious when she relocated to Enderby. Enderby has limited employment opportunities and even fewer for individuals without a driver’s license which she did not have. Crystal had tried to maintain employment out of Enderby but found that it was too difficult to get rides to and from work and the transit system did not align with her shift work. Crystal was also only looking for part time employment.

Other considerations identified during the case management process included Crystal’s difficulty in performing under pressure or in a fast-paced environment. Because of these barriers, she was let go from her job at Tim Horton’s before her probation period ended. Crystal really enjoyed this job and the bonus was she was able to walk to work as it was located in Enderby. Unfortunately, the environment was too fast-paced and Crystal was unable to keep up with the demands of the job. Low self-esteem and a lack of confidence could now be added to the list of challenges she was facing when looking for employment.

Crystal frequently accessed the WorkBC Employment Services Centre in Enderby to check the job board and receive assistance with updating and creating resumes. WorkBC assisted Crystal with obtaining her Serving it Right Certificate because she envisioned herself successfully working in a liquor store. Her case manager helped her with online applications for positions at Government liquor stores. Crystal felt this would be a good fit because she is physically fit and would be able to do the stocking and would enjoy the interaction with people on a limited basis. After Crystal was unsuccessful in obtaining employment on her own, her Case Manager decided to send Crystal to the Job Developer on staff.

Working with the Job Developer, Crystal was able to secure employment at a cold wine and beer store in Enderby. The Job Developer was able to help negotiate the hours that Crystal would work so it is a very good fit for her. She gets to enjoy working in the public without being exposed to overly fast-paced environments and her employer is able to accommodate her special needs.
Crystal stated that: “I really like my new job, it’s a very good fit and I am good at what I do.”
Visit the WorkBC Centre Vernon to learn more about the employment services and supports offered.