YACL: Building Strong & Diverse Communities

YACL for 2015 December newsletterReady, Willing and Able is a new national employment program aimed at increasing the labour force participation rate of people with disabilities. This federally-funded initiative has been launched in 20 communities across Canada and has seen some great successes; Whitehorse is no exception. The Yukon Association for Community Living is moving into our second year of working with the program.

YACL’s employment team is made up of a Labour Market Facilitator and several job coaches. Together we have worked to support more than 20 new employment opportunities for Yukoners experiencing various disabilities.  As part of our role, we’ve engaged with dozens of employers to identify employment opportunities and we’ve provided on-the-job support to workers with disabilities and to their co-workers and supervisors. Support comes in the form of ongoing job coaching and other job-specific accommodations.

We hear so many success stories both nationally and locally as employers access a pool of hard working, long term and dedicated employees who love their jobs. These workers are gaining independence and building a social circle and meaningful ways to participate and actively contribute to their community. We start with the employer’s need and work to find the right match of skills and interest in an employment candidate. YACL is working to foster long lasting and successful working relationships between businesses and employees who are hard working, positive and capable additions to the workplace team.

The types of jobs found and supported through Ready, Willing and Able range from less than part-time to full-time, in small businesses to large, and across a variety of skill sets.

A key component of Ready, Willing and Able is helping businesses realize the value in hiring a person with a disability when the right match is made between job position and individual. In these cases, businesses across the country are seeing extremely low turnover rates, high levels of accuracy and dedication and an overall positive and motivating shift in workplace culture.

YACL has also initiated and coordinates an Odd Job Squad; a group of people who have interest and ability in  labour and trades work, offering short term services to businesses and community members.  They mobilize for odd jobs like small construction projects, snow shovelling, yard work, stacking wood and more. By supporting a good quality and dependable on-demand labour force we help workers gain skills and make connections, developing opportunities for longer-term future employment.

YACL has partnered with YuWIN and other disability organizations, developing new campaigns to further engage the business community and other potential employers. This includes web-based marketing but also provides opportunities to recognize success. We thank businesses that have been key players in inclusive hiring.  We plan to develop training and education opportunities for businesses who may be interested in becoming involved but want to learn more.

If you’re interested in the Odd Job Squad or in becoming a supporter of our programs please contact Kathleen Hare at rwa@ycommunityliving.com or 667-4606.

Article submitted by Yukon Association for Community Living
http://www.ycommunityliving.com

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