Disability Employment Month Success Stories - Part 1

14 September 2017
Jesse – Smithers – Youth/PWD
Jesse, a young person with Downs Syndrome, had completed high school and had even done grade twelve over again just to learn some more, and keep busy. It was time for him to move on into the world of adulthood and work. He had some “job experience placement” though high school, so he did have a bit of experience in going to work; but the experience had not provided much support.

Jesse needed an understanding Employer, co-workers and tasks that were within his capabilities. Jesse was looking for ways and means to live more independently. With the help of Community Living BC, Jesse discovered that WorkBC offers services for persons with a disability as they do for all citizens, to help find meaningful employment.

The first step Jesse went through with WorkBC was to confirm his strengths. Through the Customized Employment Development Discovery process, he completed and developed an Employment Profile that highlighted his abilities.

During the planning meeting Jesse was asked: “What would be your dream job?” His response was “working in a Sports Store”, as he is an active member of the Special Olympics and participates as an athlete, in a variety of sports himself.

An application for the opportunity fund was completed and Jesse was accepted into a wage subsidy. Next was seeking out employers who had the appropriate workplace needs, who were willing to work with Jesse and with WorkBC.

The local manager of a new Sport Check franchise in town was approached and was open to the idea. He had previous experience in another business of hiring persons with a disability and had seen success.

Many of the younger part-time staff had been in school with Jesse and were positive about having him aboard. Many people in town know Jesse and his big smile, the manager understood the goodwill that this would bring to the new store. Jesse is a social butterfly and his emotion intelligence is superb.

The Sport Check manager offered a couple of shifts per week, under the supervision of his own staff. Jesse was helped through the intake process, and then there was some online learning required before he could be on the floor as a sales advisor.

WorkBC staff provided some job coaching, hands-on assistance, to sit with Jesse as he completed the online modules about customer service, loss prevention, safety and other related policies. Over the first month, it took about 10 shifts to get through the hours of comprehensive e-learning, with help. Once those were signed off, he began to learn how to unpack and put out stock.

Jesse is a sales advisor and works in the back to unpack and put out stock .He also works on the floor, greeting customers and helping them find merchandise.

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

Melissa – WorkBC Ashcroft – Rural/Remote & PWD
Melissa has limited education and work experience. She has received training in massage therapy level 1. She has been told she has a moderate learning disability and “learns things differently”. Melissa is interested in working while her children are in school.

The Ashcroft area is a rural/remote community with few opportunities and with a lack of education Melissa was having problems finding employment. She was on income assistance and was referred to WorkBC. Melissa received assistance with resumes and goal setting and attended workshops. She also had regular meetings with her Case Manager and received a lot of helpful encouragement.

Melissa is now self-employed doing housekeeping and hot & cold “massage” stone therapy. She is getting all the work she wants.

Melissa said she appreciated the emotional support, “like from friends”, at the Ashcroft WorkBC Employment Services Centres.
“When I walk in I get a friendly welcome, somebody cares.”
Visit the WorkBC Centre Ashcroft to learn more about the employment services and supports offered.

Shawn – WorkBC Delta – PWD
Shawn missed his first appointment with WorkBC and it took a while to learn that he didn’t feel comfortable meeting in an office. Shawn has autism spectrum disorder as well as seizure disorder. He prefers simple communication, doesn’t like to deal with filling out forms and emailing is also a challenge.

Shawn tried to enroll in the electronics or warehousing class but wasn’t accepted. He looked further and found a course at Douglas College. He wasn’t completely aware of the tuition and other costs associated with taking classes, so this opportunity fell through. Other options were explored with Shawn’s skills and abilities. He wanted to work in a warehouse and wanted to look into a Security Guard job, but lost interest after a while. Shawn needed a lot of support with no judgement and lots of encouragement. With encouragement and support from WorkBC, he eventually was successful in finding a suitable job.

Shawn received support with his resume and an interview and he was hired. He now works at the Tsawwassen Mills Mall.

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

Maureen – Port Alberni – PWD/Multiple Barriers
Maureen has experienced limited employment due to severe anxiety disorder and degenerative disc disease, which resulted in lack of experience, no references and no confidence in interviewing. Maureen did not have any transferable skills, a credible resume or any interview skills.

The local WorkBC Employment Services Centre helped Maureen with skills training, personal support, workshops, and JobStart supports which assisted her in being successful in finding part-time retail employment.
“WorkBC Employment Services stands out amongst employment services in general due to the compassion, dedication, encouragement and support of the staff members. Without the caring guidance of my case manager I would not have developed the confidence in myself and my abilities to pursue employment.”
Visit the WorkBC Centre Port Alberni to learn more about the employment services and supports offered.

Elijah – Port Alberni – PWD/Youth
Elijah had not been working for a length of time and was unhappy with this previous employment as it was not sustainable. He had a lack of training and social and developmental barriers.

Elijah was referred to WorkBC by a family friend due to a lack of success in his independent work search. He was helped with a variety of assessments which showed that Elijah would enjoy employment in the security services field. WorkBC assisted Elijah in completing his security training and negotiated with an employer to support Elijah’s employment with WorkBC job maintenance services.

Elijah is now employed as a security guard, protecting the public and various company assets.
Elijah said: “Thank you for helping me with everything.”
Visit the WorkBC Centre Port Alberni to learn more about the employment services and supports offered.

Louis – WorkBC Williams Lake - Indigenous, PWD/Multiple Barriers/Youth
Louis was not working and was on assistance for half a year before starting a foundation course with Velocity. He needed a Heavy Equipment Operator (HEO) ticket to operate equipment and other tickets for the job and insurance for his truck to look for work. With the help of WorkBC, he made the choice to sign up for the HEO course held by the Industry Training Authority (ITA) and Velocity.

Louis’ course came to an end with Velocity and he started a new job as an HEO building logging roads.
“Thanks to WorkBC for the support and the training they provided to help get me there.”
Visit the WorkBC Centre Williams Lake to learn more about the employment services and supports offered.