By Joy McKinnon, SETI Coorindator
For the past 8 years, SARC has been celebrating October as Disability Employment Awareness Month (DEAM). October is just around the corner, so it’s time to start planning for DEAM!
Last year we noticed a huge increase in the number of organizations engaging in DEAM, but think we can do even better in 2019! If you haven’t started planning yet, here are some tips to get you started:
- Organize a DEAM ‘Kickoff’ ceremony with representatives of the, municipality, or city. Involve employers who’ve experienced success with employment inclusion and ask employers to speak about their success.
- Coordinate a Job Fair to bring together business leaders interested in diversity and inclusion and talented job seekers.
- Organize a presentation at your local Chamber of Commerce to help employers build their capacity for inclusive recruitment.
- Try a Cash Mob. Spend a day at an inclusive business greeting customers and telling them about the employer’s commitment to diversity and the benefits of inclusive employment. Encourage customers to spend $20 more than they had originally intended in order to reward Inclusion. For the past two years, CBO’s from across Canada have come together to do a National Cash Mob, which garnered lots of media attention. Consider organizing a “Provincial Cash Mob” by getting 4 or 5 other CBO’s from within your region to do a cash mob on the same day at the same time. Make sure that the local media is aware of the event so that the employer and the event benefits from media attention.
- Issue a press release about DEAM and what your organization does to support employment inclusion for people experiencing disability in your community. Celebrate what you do!
- Send your DEAM news and events to SARC so we can help promote you on social media!
- Have an open house at your organization, inviting champion employers to speak to other employers, include families and individuals experiencing disability as well as the general public to see what you do within the community. Have a variety of activities like a ‘balloon pop’ dispelling myths about employment inclusion. A ‘balloon pop’ includes putting pieces of paper inside balloons that dispels myths about inclusive employment. A person pops the balloon and the paper is read, dispelling the myth.
- Consider a breakfast event bringing together employers, job seekers and the general public to celebrate employment inclusion and how to get involved.
- Take coffee and doughnuts or cookies to a champion employer and make sure you contact your local radio station; they may be willing to do an on air interview to promote employment inclusion and the employer!
- Consider developing a video that promotes an inclusive employer in your community and post it on your social media feeds.
- SARC has certificates available that can be printed and provided to champion employers on the EmployLink Website These small tokens can mean a lot to people, so don’t forget to thank them in this small way for all they do within the community.
- Remember to spend time on MentorAbility to give local employers an inclusive workplace experience. For more information on MentorAbility, click here https://www.supportedemployment.ca/mentorability/.
Together we can make DEAM 2019 a spectacular success. For information on these or any other Disability Employment Awareness Month ideas, contact Joy McKinnon at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 306 933 0616.