Happy New Year from the employees at Life Directions Employment Supports. As with each new year, we have reflected on the successes of 2023 and are more eager and driven than ever before to advocate for inclusive, diverse and equitable work environments.
Job Seekers Updates:
In 2023, we successfully placed 73% of our job-seekers into competitive employment, partly due to our partnership with MentorAbility Canada/Ontario, CASE (Canadian Association for Supported Employment) and ODEN (Ontario Disability Employment Network).
We secured another three-year contract with the ESDC (Employment and Social Development) Opportunities Fund Program 2023-2026. Helping persons with disabilities prepare for, find, and keep good jobs or become self-employed, advance in their careers, or take on new or more significant responsibilities. Also assisting employers to create inclusive and accessible workplaces.
We are a new local employment service provider for EO (Employment Ontario) under Employment Services Bruce, Grey, Huron, and Perth County, helping all job seekers, workers and employers with employment attraction, training, and retention services.
Each month you will experience an opportunity to view a snapshot of one of our active job-seekers available for a mentorship experience. This profile (you can see shared below) will include a brief overview of their experience, availability, skill sets and their specific mentorship interests. A mentorship can vary in the execution and purpose and is not a paid position or a guarantee of employment.
Mentorship opportunities allow for job-seekers to dip their toes in a workplace environment they take an interest in, they are able to tour the facilities, job shadow an employee, try some hands on work and ask questions. The major benefit of this interaction is for employers to gauge the job-seeker for a paid position and/or to offer advice and support. A successful mentorship is a gateway for job-seekers to understand their next steps such as; additional education, offering volunteer services, obtaining certifications, etc.
Life Directions are the facilitators behind the mentorships and in partnership with the Canadian Association for Supported Employment and MentorAbility Ontario, we are fully insured to have our job-seekers on-site. However, please keep in mind that an interview-style zoom meeting would suffice for some job-seekers in order to ask general questions about your business/organization.
Thank you Josie for being our first job-seeker to have their mentee profile submitted for viewing!
"TORONTO, NOVEMBER 7, 2023 – Rogers Communications Inc. today announced the launch of a new program to make 5G wireless services more accessible to eligible low-income Canadians. The new Connected for Success 5G Mobile Plan with a no-cost 5G smartphone gives over 2.5 million Canadians a more affordable way to connect to 5G wireless services."
Pictured above: Vegetable macaroni salad, milkshake and grilled cheese.
"LEARNING IS A MATTER OF GATHERING KNOWLEDGE; WISDOM IS APPLYING THAT KNOWLEDGE"
WORKSHOPS AT THE LAUNCHPAD
In December our pre-employment workshop students began exploring hard skills in relation to employment. This week our job seekers planned a lunch menu and got some training in kitchen operations from Chef Kayla at the LaunchPad in Hanover. Our job seekers learned about basic food safety, handwashing, time management and most importantly, how to use a commercial dishwasher! The lunch was a success and everyone enjoyed a well deserved lunch break with their peers and coworkers! Pre-employment workshops begin again in February 2024.
Life Directions Employment Supports is in a budding partnership with the OCTC (Ontario Corporate Training Centre) to bring sponsored training, consulting, and resources to empower employers/businesses to become better leaders, transform their workplace culture, navigate conflicts, and enhance their communication skills. OCTC is looking for businesses in Grey County to fill out a quick 10-minute survey. Employers/businesses will be asked questions about experiences with recruiting, hiring, onboarding, and retaining workers living with a disability and the need for disability-specific support for businesses.
On January 4th, we celebrate "World Braille Day". Braille was created for persons living with a visual impairment to accomodate reading the same information as visual print. Learn more about the CNIB (Canadian National Institute for the Blind) "Come to Work" Program.
Talking accessibility IN HIRING
How accessible is your job application process? Do you know how to make adjustments for the application to be accessible?
Here are some solutions you can provide.
Email the application - the applicant may have access to a computer with braille or speech output.
If you require the application to be completed in person, have someone readily available to read the questions and record the answers.
Once the applicant has self-identified, ask them if any accomodations would be required for the interview.
If testing is required, this should be solely to delve into the applicant's skills and knowledge - NOT to find out about their disability and limitations.
TALKING ACCESSIBILITY IN THE WORKPLACE
Every person's level of limitation will vary greatly and a conversation with your employee is neccessary to uncover how you can accomodate their needs to complete their job.
Let's uncover some easy adjustments to create an accessible work environment for individuals living with a visual impairment.
Screen reading/speech dictation software.
Braille label system.
Tactile map of evacuation route & assign an evacuation partner.
Auditory or braille versions of printed documents.
"INCLUSION IS INTENTIONAL. IT IS ABOUT IDENTIFYING AND REMOVING BARRIERS SO THAT EVERYONE CAN PARTICIPATE TO THE BEST OF THEIR ABILITY."
transitional youth jobpath program
IT'S NOT GOODBYE, IT'S "SEE YOU SOON"
In the time I have spent with Life Directions I have learned so many new skills and have been introduced to so many amazing faces. The job seekers I have worked with have been some of the most inspiring individuals I have met and I am forever grateful to have had the opportunity to make heartwarming connections. The support provided whilst working alongside the staff at Life Directions and South East Grey Support Services has allowed me to grow into this role and create a wide variety of contacts in the community.
After a little more than 2 years as Event and Marketing Facilitator with Life Directions Employment Supports, it's time for me to embark on a new journey.
January 2024, you can find me at the Grey Highland Public Library as the Coordinator of Planning and Outreach, primarily in the Flesherton location. If you wish to connect with me from a business-relationship standpoint, you can find me on LinkedIn or drop into the library to see what new and exciting events we will be providing the community!
HOW LUCKY I AM TO HAVE SOMETHING THAT MAKES SAYING GOODBYES SO HARD.