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BC Centre for Employment Excellence

Top 20 Disability-Confident Companies in Vancouver

Currently, many lists exist outlining the “top 20 diverse companies” or the “top 10 companies to work for”, but the BC Centre for Employment Excellence (BC CFEE) aims to put together a top 20 disability-confident list of employers in British Columbia (BC). This list will be developed to identify companies that are welcoming and inclusive to individuals with disabilities within their workplaces. As well, the disability-confident list of employers will be shared with service providers in the employment services sector in BC or recruiters who work with people with disabilities, which will help increase access to the labour market.

Beaufort Association for Mentally Handicapped

Pet Treat Bakery Expansion Project

Pet Treat Bakery, a social enterprise business operated by Beaufort Association, has experienced tremendous success in marketting and selling our products on Vancouver Island, and in providing employment for people with developmental disability, In four years, our annual sales have grown from $55000 to $125000 and we are projecting similar increases over the next three years. Our workforce has grown from four to eleven hourly employees at our dehydration facility, working from 2 to 22 hours per week, and paid minimum wage and better. In addition we have a flexible work crew of four to eight piece-work employees to do packaging and labelling. We are ready to take the next step, hiring a manager and increasing production capacity. This will require renovation to upgrade electrical service, improvements to water supply and plumbing, purchase of additional equipment and other upgrades. We estimate a 50% increase in production will create between 24 and 28 addtional hours of work per week. This will mean an increase in hours for some employees and the hiring of additional staff.

British Columbia Self Advocacy Foundation

Breaking Down Barriers

ESATTA was contracted by the BC Self Advocacy Foundation(BCSAF) in 2011/12 to present their No More Barriers campaign to communities throughout BC to share their campaign video & website and host World Cafe style dialogues to find out the types of barriers experienced by self advocates in BC. All feedback was reviewed by self advocates and 5 common barriers were selected by self advocates to become the guidelines for their 2012 No More Barriers grants. The key barriers were: supported decision making(SDM), youth & self advocacy, health, housing and employment. ESATTA decided they would develop a workshop on: SDM, Health and Employment. We have made contact with School districts and agencies throughout BC and will be offering to present this workshop. We want to help community become more aware of youth & adults with disabilities and how they are an untapped workforce ready willing & able to be employed. We also want to talk to self advocates about ways to understand how to get help and support when making decisions and ways to keep healthy & be active members of the BC workforce.

Campbell River & District Association

Scan Now

ScanNow will be offering a document scanning services. Where business can drop off documents to be scanned into electronic format, assured of confidentiality of all documents. The entire process is the customer drops of documents to be scanned into digital format(Computer Files). When the documents are scanned, the client would pick up the original documents and a DVD or USB with the scanned document files. Files would be made content searchable, organized in folders with matching equivalent paper folder directory names and file names. We are also able to offer an add-on service for Skyline Productions Shredding service, offering the client to scan documents to digital format before shredding. Skyline Productions has a large pool of established business clients which ScanNow could provide an attractive add on service.

Canucks Autism Network Society

"I CAN Volunteer" Program

The "I CAN Volunteer" program is designed to encourage participants' development of professional experience and employable skills, facilitating their transitions into the workforce. The program is designed to focus on problem solving, creative thinking, proficiency and leadership abilities. The program provides a series of workshops followed by a practical experience portion within our existing programs. The workshops are conducted with a view to progressive behavioural skills training, where the skills emphasized within each session build upon those developed in the preceding workshop. Each workshop is structured to facilitate skill development by breaking each lesson into individual components of instruction, modelling, testing, and constructive feedback. The practical experience portion grants participants the opportunity to internalize the skills emphasized within the workshops, and to gain practical work experience in a sports and recreation environment. Staff will work to tailor the program, both workshops and volunteer opportunities, to the specific needs of each participant.

Gibsons Family Network

Marketing and Business Expansion Plan for Sunshine Shack Kiosk

We wish to research possible other locations for a beverage kiosk, that would provide a higher traffic volume and also research offering a catering service to various community groups GFN has had a great response from the community for the work we do to provide inclusion and employment for people with developmental disabilities. In order to continue operating the Sunshine Shack we need to develop a business plan with the long term goal of sustainability, while providing employment and training-on-the job for young adults who have recently graduated from high school Our main focus for this project will be a comprehensive review of services including an assessment of current and future needs. We are asking assistance to hire an external evaluation consultant to conduct the review of services, and to assist us in developing a process, criteria and reporting framework to evaluate the expansion options. This will help us to identify core services and help us to make a decision which expansion alternatives will be pursued. We will also update our website to be more current.

Grendel Group (Family Advocates)

"Training For Growth"

Food security and healthy eating are of utmost concern for residents of the Bulkley Valley. Employers in the agricultural sector (local farms, garden markets, plant centres, etc) have expressed interest in hiring Grendel participants with well-developed horticulture skills. In order to accomplish this, the Grendel Group will hire a Support Worker to focus specifically on honing the participants' skills to meet the expressed needs of local employers in the agriculture sector, as well as developing communication, math and customer service skills. This worker will also be responsible for outreach with potential employers, job placements, and continued support of the participants. Of course, this project adheres to the Grendel Group's principles of providing opportunities for hands-on training, peer education, community integration, and programs based on quality produce and food preparation.

The Grendel Players

The Grendel Group (Family Advocates) is a values-based organization, dedicated to establishing programs that provide educational, work experience and skill development opportunities within the community that contribute to the moral, mental, cultural and physical improvement for individuals with developmental intellectual delays (DID). The Grendel Players is a theatre program that works towards developing the participants' communication skills. This proposed project will have the Grendel participants create, rehearse and perform a play about the value of differences. The participants will also be involved in the building and painting of the set; creating the props; and helping to make costumes. This endeavor will better integrate these individuals into the community and provide them with the necessary communication skills and self-confidence required to obtain employment. It will also provide and opportunity to members of the community to see these individuals in a different light: recognizing their abilities as opposed to their disabilities.

High Road Services Society

Innovations' Kitchen

Innovations' Kitchen is a social enterprise jointly managed by the Supported Employment Program and Special Projects program of HIGH ROAD Services Society. Innovations' Kitchen(IKitchen) operates five days a week in the cafeteria space of the local high school, providing nutritious snack and meal options prepared by the individuals employed part time by IKitchen. The individuals receive instruction and support in learning industry standard skills that can be transferable to other employment settings. Employers often do not have the time or resources to provide one on one continual training supports for individuals with disabilities. IKitchen removes this obstacle by providing on the job training in the areas desired by potential employers, while providing a fair wage for the individuals. Individuals are instructed in Food Safe and Health and Safety procedures while experiencing realistic employment expectations such as being on time for scheduled shifts, following an appropriate hygiene routine, working coherently with coworkers and completing tasks according to direction given.

Learning Disabilities Society of Greater Vancouver

Learning Employment and Education Program

The Leadership Employment and Education Program (LEEP) is a leadership and employment training program for youth (14-17) with Learning Disabilities. The program's goal is twofold: 1) to broaden each young person's understanding of their individual Learning Disability diagnosis and to enhance their skills as advocates of their needs in the workplace, 2) to provide each youth with employment training, and volunteer work placements that will prepare them for the workplace. Youth with Learning Disabilities face very specific challenges. The program is designed to help them explore these issues with others who experience the same battles, to build a sense of community with others, and to deepen their understanding and appreciation for their uniqueness. Youth will graduate from the LEEP program with a new sense of awareness of their strengths and weaknesses, newfound confidence in their abilities and unique talents, and a better ability to communicate their needs.

North Shore Disability Resource Centre Association (NSDRC)

InclusionWorks North Shore

Using the award-winning InclusionWorks model from Victoria BC as an example of how to support youth exiting secondary school and in their first five years of their transition into adulthood, a group of 8 families from North and West Vancouver would like to work with community partners such as Capilano Continuing Education, the District of West Vancouver and the North Vancouver Recreation Commission, and other agencies, on a pilot project. The project involves collaborating to provide age-appropriate community-based programming that focuses on educational, recreational, social and volunteer opportunities for young adults with developmental disabilities. This pilot project involves developing a model where families pool their financial resources and in working with community partners, design and coordinate weekly activities for their young people that help them maintain the active and stimulating lifestyle that they led while in the public school system. Using the InclusionWorks (IW) model, families who have opted for Individualized Funding from Community Living BC (CLBC) pool their funds and work with a group of community-based partners to create programming with the goal of building experience, independence, inclusion, and life-long learning for young people with developmental disabilities in their first five years after graduating from the public school system.

Port Alberni Association for Community Living

Summer Work Experience Program (SWEP)

Our agency would like to pilot a Summer Work Experience Program (SWEP) for youth with special needs in the summer of 2015. This request is in response to the various provincial initiatives focusing on employment for persons with developmental disabilities and the need for transitional planning for youth with special needs. With relevance to this funding application, our agency currently offers an Employment Program that is extremely successful. However, we are only able to offer this service to our adult population at this point in time. One of the primary goals of this proposed project is to build that relationship with the youth and to support a seamless transition once they enter into adult services and programs; building familiarity with our staff and program would enhance their chances of gaining successful employment as an adult. The objectives of the SWEP would be to provide a positive and successful work experience for the youth through support, encouragement and on-the-job assistance so they will have the confidence to pursue employment as an adult..

Powell River Brain Injury Society

Work for LIfe

K-Lumet is the product that will be produced through the Work for Life program. It is a unique program that will employ persons with disabilities and create new innovative partnerships in our community. It will afford persons in Powell River who are living with an acquired brain injury to gain skills and work in an environment which allows them to work at their own pace and capacity. K-Lumet is a product that uses waste wood and recycled products to produce a fire starter which we expect will soon become a household name in British Columbia, starting with Powell River. Our innovative idea is to train mangers in the production method of this product, which is an assembly line. We will then assess each of our brain injury population clients, of which we have over 200, to see where best their skill set is to fit in to the production line. We will train them in safety and first aid and will pay them hourly with a livable wage. Each brain injury is unique and each worker will be supported as they learn new skills and increase their self worth though becoming productive members of a collective that is all working together toward the same goal. That goal is for them to have a wage, usually which will supplement a disability pension, and to help create self-sufficiency of the Society that that supports them. It is a reciprocal win win for all involved. It is expected that this program will eventually create partnerships with other disability service providers in our area.

Realwheels Society

Motivational Speaking

Motivational Speaking

The Garth Homer Society

Supported Self-Employment Pilot Project

The purpose of this pilot is to develop and validate a practical working approach to supported self-employment (SSE) for people with developmental disabilities (DD), one of the most vulnerable and excluded of populations. Increasingly, SSE is being viewed within the community living sector as a viable employment option. However, there are few models for the delivery of SSE for people with DD, and for a variety of reasons existing models of self-employment for the 'difficult-to-employ' without disabilities do not work well for this population. In this project we will work with six developmentally disabled individuals to build self-employment businesses with the aims of (i) having the businesses generate cashflow within the project term, (ii) achieving specific employment-related learning and personal growth outcomes for each individual, and (iii) establishing the validity and practicality of our SSE service model.

Employment First

The GHS works with over 150 clients, 60 in employment services, to create opportunities for independence, growth and participation/integration in the community for people who strive to overcome developmental disabilities. The sector's philosophical initiative toward full integration and clients' desire to work has brought to the forefront the need for more staff training as well as the preparation of marketing and information collateral for potential employers. We will be the first agency to do so in Greater Victoria and will be sharing our process and results with other agencies and care givers.

Thompson Rivers University Foundation

Retail Kiosk Project

The ESTR Retail Kiosk Project is a new and innovative initiative for our Retail Certificate Program. The purpose of this initiative is to provide hands-on, retail training for our students which will empower and better prepare them for employment. Students in the program are required to complete 6 hours of Retail Labs each week over the course of two semesters. Currently students are working on and off campus to complete their lab hours. The kiosk would provide students the opportunity to connect classroom theory to real employment training and practice such as: - operating a small business and entrepreneuship - ordering and monitoring inventory - pricing and marketing product - stocking, displaying and packaging product - completing sales transactions and daily reconciliations - practicing customer service and sales This project also extends beyonds our program. Along with being interdisciplinary, aligns well with TRU's Strategic Priorities to increase: Student Success, Entrepreneurial Capacity, Intercultural Understanding, and Sustainability.

Victoria Brain Injury Society

Survivor, Supporter, Success!

At VBIS a Peer Supporter is available Monday-Thursday in our community room. This volunteer, who has experienced a brain injury themselves, is trained to support new members and facilitate group conversations. They pass on useful coping techniques, share their experiences with other survivors of brain injury and their families and refer survivors to useful community resources. We have found peer support to be an extremely useful way to help survivors deal with the devastating repercussions of brain injury. It is critical that we offer Peer Supporters appropriate training and support to maximize their effectiveness and the value they receive from their mentorship role. “Survivor, Supporter, Success!” is a Peer Support training program that educates and trains brain injury survivors on how to mentor and support their peers. This mutually beneficial program will enhance the capacity, skills and self-confidence of our Peer Supporters and can be utilized as a stepping stone to paid employment, while also providing recent survivors with mentors to support them with their recovery.