Josh and Jeff – An Employment Success Story
by SARC Communications Coordinator, Amy Janzen, and Weyburn Wor-Kin Shop Employment Coordinator, Meagan McLeod
There’s no doubt that there are employment success stories all across the province, and we are eager to hear and share them. In this blog series, I will be connecting with SARC Members (and beyond) to discover all of the incredible work that people are doing to support people experiencing disability in their employment goals.
Working Together in Weyburn
In time for Disability Employment Awareness Month (DEAM) 2020, I connected with Meagan McLeod from Weyburn Wor-Kin Shop in Weyburn, where she coordinates two work crews, Midale Odd Job Squad and TEAM Work Crew, in addition to supporting students and adults to obtain employment in the community. These two work crews are funded through the Supported Employment Transition Initiative (SETI), an annual initiative whereby SARC and the Ministry of Immigration and Career Training engage with Community-based organizations across the province to administer funding to develop career objectives, train, and employ people experiencing disability.
Supported Employment Helps People Like Josh Realize and Achieve Their Employment Goals
The crew at Weyburn Wor-Kin Shop is in its fourth year of receiving SETI funding and, as a result, are seeing long-term success stories connected to the two work crews, as well as the work Meagan and her team are doing. One of these success stories is Josh, who has been a supported employee of the Wor-Kin Shop’s SETI project and has been employed through a local Champion Employer, Jeff Chessall, at New Age Home Furnishings & Electronics. Josh has worked with Jeff for the past three years and was originally connected with Jeff through the supported employment program which helped the employer through the process of customizing a position for Josh. As a result, Josh has blossomed into a tremendous employee, showing pride in the work that he does, while working hard to improve all other areas of his life as well.
Although Josh enjoyed his work at New Age in Weyburn, a new opportunity has presented itself to him through Jeff. Jeff will now be operating the Rona in Weyburn and has brought Josh onto the crew. Josh is excited for this new opportunity and to be a part of the excitement of working at a large store. Josh’s favourite part of joining the Rona team is getting to meet new people, gaining even more co-workers, and getting to wear his new uniform.
Meagan has noted a lot of growth in Josh over the past two years that she’s known him. As he’s grown into his employment role, there’s been a noticeable change in his social skills, professionalism, and his quality of life. Josh has gained valuable relationships with his co-workers and continues to learn new transferable skills. He has an improved sense of personal fulfillment and identifies himself as a valuable employee of Jeff’s.
Supported Employment Creates Opportunities for Employers
For Jeff, having a dedicated employee like Josh has been great. Josh has shown him the true benefit of hiring people experiencing disability: “Being an inclusive workplace allows for myself, as an employer, to reach an untapped labour pool. Individuals like Josh boost staff morale, and I know I can count on him to come to work every shift with a positive attitude, excited and ready to work. I also believe being an inclusive workplace creates opportunity for not only my staff but also my customers to learn about inclusivity and accessibility.”
Celebrate Ten Years of DEAM in SK this October
DEAM 2020 takes place from October 1-31. Throughout DEAM, SARC will be sharing supported employment stories from across the province. If you have a story that you’d like us to include, please email SARC Communications Coordinator, Amy Janzen, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or share through our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/SARCSaskatchewan.
For more information on supported employment and the SETI projects, visit EmployLink.ca and https://www.sarcsarcan.ca/supported-employment/.