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Reducing poverty and boosting respect, with a job

Lorraine Graves   Jan-04-2018

Project leader Kelly Mack (centered) accepts the 2017 Employer of the Year award from Jobs West on behalf of the City of Richmond.

Photo courtesy City of Richmond


One way to cut poverty in our community, is to increase accessibility to jobs. For people with a disability, jobs can be even harder to find. According to the City of Richmond, “One in 10 or 3.8 million of working-aged Canadians have a disability. About half of working-aged Canadians with a disability are unemployed.”

Whether it be a newly-graduated engineer, an office worker or someone who has been a labourer, there are extra hurdles to overcome for a disabled worker.

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“Many individuals with disabilities are systematically denied opportunities for meaningful employment,” said Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie. “But with assessment, matching and support between an individual’s needs and abilities aligned with available job duties, this situation can be rectified through a customized employment approach.”

The city’s customized employment program includes partnerships with specialized employment services such as the Developmental Disabilities Association’s employment division, Jobs West. Together, the city and the organizations, work to create jobs with the City in a variety of situations such as, Project Development, the Richmond Ice Centre and South Arm Community Centre.

Through this program, 15 people have jobs with the City they might not otherwise have had. These jobs are in addition to the number of people with disabilities who have found paid employment over the years with our community centres, some of which are funded the community associations.

For its initiative and work, the City received the 2017 Employer of the Year award from Jobs West.

According to a city of Richmond press release, “The Customized Employment Program provides individuals with disabilities with employment opportunities that they would otherwise have difficulty attaining. It utilizes the strengths, capabilities and skills of the individual in order to meet the needs of the operation.”

The self-respect that comes from doing a job well is immeasurable and of equal importance to the financial independence offered by paid work. The other benefit comes from the community seeing people with disabilities, as a matter of course, working as paid employees in a variety of jobs. It expands the wide range of normal.

The city says, “It is hoped that this program will motivate local businesses to follow suit in developing an inclusive workplace at their businesses.”

The city continues, “Hiring individuals with disabilities broadens the community’s understanding of disabilities and inclusivity, which contributes to a healthier, more diverse society and community to live in.”

To contact Jobs West cut and paste: jobswest.ca

For the Developmental Disabilities Assn: develop.bc.ca


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