Inclusive Employment Research

Mapping Experiences with Inclusive Employment

Map used by the Inclusive Employment Research Project.

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Emma's Employment Story at F.H.P. Lawyers


Emma is employed in the office of F.H. & P. Lawyers in Kelowna

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Employment Success Stories: Anastasia at Cowell Motors


Anastasia is a young woman with both visual and hearing challenges who works part time at Cowell Motors in Richmond as an administrative assistant.

Finding a job has been a life changing experience and has opened up opportunities for new connections, as well as increasing her confidence and independence.

Anastasia emigrated with her family from the Ukraine when she was 12 years old. A joyful heart and a love of family, people and community are apparent in all her actions and decisions. Anastasia loves the feeling of being helpful and values responsibility.

When she first starting looking for a job through the Richmond Society for Community Living employment program, Anastasia showed a clear interest and aptitude for organizing, but was not sure whether she had sufficient skills to hold a paid job in the community.

Previously, she had volunteered at the Deaf Blind Services and the Women’s Resource Centre; going through the discovery and vocational planning process increased her confidence, and helped her find the right job.

After searching for the right opportunity over for a few months, Anastasia landed a position in November 2012 at Cowell Motors as an office assistant. She enters work order data into the computer and sorts and scans documents into a computerized filing system. Her employer made a few minor modifications, like increasing the font on her computer and moving the screen closer, to help accommodate her visual needs.

Her employer is very pleased with Anastasia. She performs all her job tasks with accuracy, speed and a positive attitude. She puts in a consistent effort and her productivity is good. Her employer, Cowell Motors, has been good supporter of the Richmond Society for Community Living employment program. The company understands the advantages of having a diverse workforce, and they model inclusiveness and a celebration of abilities to all employees.

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Outspoken about Diverse Abilities


DAVID JOHNSTON is a firm believer in equality for all.

As a young outspoken lad it didn’t take him long to realize that he was passionate about helping people with Diverse Abilities.

A little older and still outspoken David calls Dawson Creek, British Columbia home. David is a part of several impactful groups including; Dawson Creek People First, BC People First Provincial Board, BC Self Advocacy Foundation Board and the CLBC Editorial Board.

David is a motivational speaker, trainer and mentor. He is available to provide the following 1 hour presentation:

PASSION TO PURPOSE– A presentation about inclusive employment

David believes that each step he has taken in life has prepared him to share with others what Inclusive Employment looks and feels like. And now he wants to share his journey with you. Through his presentation Passion to Purpose you will be inspired along your path to find what it is you are passionate about. To find purpose within your passion and to let nothing hold you back! David’s fee is a minimum $100/hour plus travel expenses. To inquire about or hire David contact CLBC Self Advocate Advisor, Jessica Humphrey, or 778-679-2691

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Shelley as a Professional Speaker


SHELLEY DE COSTE is a well-known leader in the Self Advocacy Movement. She started the DIVERSABILITY campaign in 2012 and now has followers across BC.

Shelley says, “If you break down the word DISabled, you get not able. If you break down DIVERSABILITY, you get different, but able. To create a better understanding we can begin with something as simple as changing our language.”

Shelley is an inspirational speaker and trainer and is available to present the following 1 hour workshops: Turning DISability into DIVERSABLITY!

In this presentation you will learn about: Self advocacy The power of language How changing the way we talk can create inclusive communities Promoting Inclusive Employment

In this presentation you will learn about: The importance of inclusive employment for one’s quality of life The abilities and contributions of people with diverse abilities Customized employment The principles of respectful employment support for people with diverse abilities What valued, meaningful employment looks and feels like for people with diverse abilities Shelley’s fee is a minimum $100/hour plus travel expenses.

To inquire about or hire Shelley contact CLBC Self Advocate Advisor, Jessica Humphrey, or 778-679-2691

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Katarina's Job at Home Depot

Millard Emily

I like the coworkers they are really nice and I help customers

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Ashley Phillips at Spa Pure


Ashley Phillips has a delightful smile, a lively sense of humor and a strong work ethic. Now, thanks to the TIER Support Services program, she’s working at the job she always dreamed of.Phillips, 27, had always been active in the community, including in the school lunch program at Vernon and District Association for Community Living Venture Training.

Then she got involved with Community Living BC which referred her to TIER Support Services Employment Support program last fall. Kathryn Willardson of the TIER Vernon office talked with Phillips about what kind of work she would like to do and her skills and experience.“It was her dream to work in a salon and she has good people skills and is very reliable,” said Willardson. “Then I talked to local salon owners and found a match with the needs of Stephanie Rooks, Spa Pure Vernon owner.

I worked with Ashley one-on-one in her practicum and helped her develop ways for her to remember all her duties. She’s done very well.”Phillips has a developmental delay which includes dysphraxia, meaning she sometimes has challenges in articulating speech. Her job as spa floater includes laundry, cleaning, and making and serving coffee. Since she is a visual learner, she has a chart with pictures as reminders of what has to be done.

Her family had tried to help Phillips get a job before but was discouraged that some employers would not consider someone who takes a longer training period.“I heard about the success TIER had attained in the community and I knew Ashley had a lot to offer if she could get the support and groundwork. She is very reliable and you can always count on her,” said her mother, Wendy Phillips.“She has been wanting to work for a long time and this is such a good fit. She loves her work and she’s always happy.”Willardson noted that people with physical or developmental delays may take longer to train or need some accommodations but they stay with jobs longer, giving employers the advantage of lower turnover.“I like working. I like my chatty coworkers,” said Ashley Phillips.

Her mother said that the family is very happy with her success.“Ashley likes fashion and doing her nails so this is the perfect workplace for her. She is so excited that she will soon finish her practicum and start getting a pay cheque. Some of her friends have jobs and now she feels on par. The support for her from TIER and Stephanie has been wonderful,” she said. “Ashley looks forward to going to her job and having a place she loves to be at. The other programs she has been in have prepared her for this job. It has a lot of meaning for her.“Now she has a sense of purpose. She is more than ready to be a productive citizen and it has raised her self-esteem and confidence. She’s always smiling.”Spa Pure owner Stephanie Rooks is pleased with how Ashley has fitted into the salon.“I was excited to be involved in this program. It was presented to me as employment that would be valuable to the person and that she was able to offer the skills I needed,” said Rooks, who has a background in social services.“It was a great fit from the first day and was cool to see Ashley grow as a person. Her personality fits our team and I hope she’s here for a long time. I think this is a great program and employers should consider it as welcome addition to their businesses. I think businesses should take part in their communities and this is a way to be part of the community and support its people. I look forward to growing with the program and seeing what else the future brings.”The TIER Vernon office is presently working with 11 clients ages 19 to 40s with a variety of backgrounds and skills. “We work with the clients to find what they want to do and match their skills to the job opportunities with training and on-going support and re-training if required,” said Willardson.Ashley Phillips has a lot to smile about. She has a job she loves, she’s active in Special Olympics and she’s going to Europe with her sister in the summer.Doug Woollard, interim CEO, Community Living BC, said, “The work going on in Vernon to promote supported employment for the people we serve is something we are seeing more of across the province — particularly as it relates to youth transitioning from high school. In response to this increasing interest in employment services, Community Living BC has increased our investment in employment services and introduced a comprehensive three year jobs plan that is focused on duplicating this local success in other communities across the province.“Over the last 25 years, a lot of work has taken place in B.C. to help increase employment for adults with developmental disabilities but previously there was little coordination. Our three-year jobs plan we introduced last March is the first time the entire sector has worked together to map out a strategy to increase employment. I am pleased at the success of this effort in the first year, and the progress already made through this collaboration.”For more information about TIER Employment Support and Community Support programs, contact Willardson at 250-307-8437 or or see

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Shelley DeCoste


Shelley DeCoste's experience working at KFC in Grand Forks.

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Dale's Employment Story at Starbucks


Dale Froese talks about his career at Starbucks

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"You Only Live Once" My Employment Journey


Conrad Tyrkin's presentation from the Burnaby Transition Fair.

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Kayla McDonald Productions


Kayla is a young entrepreneur of the Nuchatlaht First Nations Band located in the Comox Valley, British Columbia. Despite her visual impairment Kayla has focused on what she enjoys doing and overcome her challenges to make effective use of her production equipment. Website:

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Lief's Employment Story: Black Diamond Lanes


This video combines Leif's love for bowling and employment = inclusive employment. Posted with permission. Original source:

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Victoria and her Dog Walking Business


Posted with permission. Original source: This video highlights Victoria's love for dogs which inspired her to start her own dog walking business.

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Wai - Breaking Limitations


Wai is a man who continually lives his life by Breaking Limitations. He is an aspiring entrepreneur and professional speaker.

Despite being born with cerebral palsy, which is a disorder usually caused by brain damage occurring at or before birth and marked by muscular impairment. Often accompanied by poor coordination, it sometimes involves speech and learning difficulties. Wai has chosen a career in speaking when there was a time in his past when many doubted he would ever be able to even communicate clearly.

Wai is surrounded by a great support structure of family and friends who are inspired by his attitude and determination to make a difference in others lives by sharing his experience.

With the help of Strategic Partners Consulting Ltd and close friend Corey Sigvaldason, Shawn Weisner, and Partners In Publishing, Wai is living his dream. With the help of technology, Wai delivers presentations that leave the audience inspired and wanting to go forth, breaking limitations in their own

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Matty Wilson cleaning Buses


This video highlights the satisfaction Matty receives when he sees a bus that he has cleaned through his employment with City of Powell River. Posted with permission. Original source: Pages/Employment Videos.aspx

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Jamie's Employment Story at Subway in Prince Rupert


Jamie Alexander Prince Rupert BC Employer: Subway Employment Duration: March 15, 2001 – current Hours: Weekly - Saturdays 12:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. Wage: $10.50 per hour

Jamie’s employer, Naripjit Sahdra, stated that Jamie was already working at Subway when this management took over the business. Mr. Sahdra stated that Jamie is very familiar with the business and with his work duties. Mr. Sahdra stated that he is most impressed with Jamie’s work ethics and reliability.

Jamie’s regular duties include washing windows, washing dishes, garbage removal, sweeping the floors and recycling duties. Jamie on occasion is required to do a new job, such as cleaning the bathrooms.

Mr. Sahdra stated that he is most impressed at how easily Jamie accepts offers to train in a new area when this occurs, and that Jamie is very quick to learn the correct way to complete the job.

Mr Sahdra stated that Jamie does not need support aside from the team (natural supports) as Jamie very rarely has any questions.

Mr Sahdra and all of the other employees that were working stated that Jamie is a pleasure on the worksite and easy to get along with and can work well independently.

Jamie’s coworker at Subway, Mr. Garpareet Singh had some wonderful reviews for working with Jamie as enclosed. Mr. Garapreet stated that he is most impressed at how conscientious Jamie is of the other workers.

According to Mr. Garapreet, Jamie will give a full months’ notice minimum when requesting a day off and does not call in sick. Mr. Garapreet stated that working with Jamie is such a good experience that he feels much more open to working alongside other individuals who may have any sort of disability or barrier.

When asked what he likes about his job or what makes it a good experience, he says: His co-workers are really friendly. “They tell me that they like me and joke with me”“I get good pay! I like making money. I make lots of money”. “The staff show me what to do” “They tell me that I do a good job”

Jamie's 2nd Job Employer: Northern View Newspaper Employment Duration: Sept 1, 2010 – current Hours: Wednesdays and Fridays, 12:00 - 4:00 pm Wage: $10.50 per hour Jamie’s duties include collating and newspaper delivery. Jamie has had training to take on the collating of the newspapers, which he gets his hourly wage for.

Jamie’s newspapers are paid out at $.07 per paper delivered. Jamie has 121 newspapers to deliver on his route and he delivers both Wednesday and Friday.

Jamie’s co-worker, Terry St. Pierre stated that he finds Jamie very reliable and enjoys working with Jamie. Terry said that his impression of working with adults with disabilities is positive, that Jamie manages to be a very independent worker that can be relied on and the fact that Jamie has a disability does not really enter his thoughts, he views Jamie the same as any other worker, although more reliable, he added.

When asked what he likes about his job or what makes it a good experience, he says: “They are all very nice to me”. “They tell me that I am doing a good job. Terry helps me.”“It’s fun here” he views Jamie the same as any other worker.

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Employment Success Story: Dara at the Dawson Co-op


My name is Dara Watson and I live in Dawson Creek, BC. Employment is an important part of my life because it gets me known in the community. Being part of the community and the workforce has helped towards being treated like a equal and having people look past my disability.

I took a course at the Northern Lights College in 2009 for eight months. It was the Employment Essential Skills Program and part of the course was to go to a business for work experience, so I chose to go to the Dawson Co-op in Dawson Creek.

So the teacher set up the placement at the Co-op, and I started to do work experience. I was trained on how to stock shelves, to get carts, do bag carry out, and to bag groceries properly. I was at the co-op for work experience from October 29 to November 27, 2009.

After I did work experience, they hired me at the Co-op as a courtesy clerk. I have been at this job for 5 years now going on 6 years. When they hired me, I had an interview with the Co-op manager.

Now I help get carts, put stuff back on shelves and if a customer cannot find something, I help them find what they’re looking for. I put baskets away and go to get grocery bags, till tape and supplies for the front people. Since they hired me, they also hired another person with a disability.

Since I was hired, I have been to staff meetings and the Christmas party, and got a Christmas bonus every year. Everyone gets along with me at work and treats me like part of the team and part of the family.

Dawson Co-op treats people with disabilities in the work force with respect and dignity, just like anybody else.

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An Interview with Andy working at McDonald's Restaurant


This video is an interview between Josh Rimer and Andy. Josh is interviewing Andy because he is in search of a job. Andy is working at McDonald's so Josh is asking him all about working and the benefits of working there. Posted with permission.Original source:

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Tracy Jo's Employment Story


Tracy Jo talks about her job at the Fortune Drive Safeway in Kamloops

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Terry working at Extreme Pita


Terry Newman loves his new job at Extreme Pita on Bowen Road.

The 39-year old, who has a developmental disability, has some volunteer and piecemeal work experience underneath his belt, but this is his first continuous job. The pride he feels in himself is evident in his smile and in the sparkle in his blue eyes.

Two days a week during the lunch rush, Newman greets customers, clears and washes tables and sweeps the floor in the restaurant. It makes him feel good to be earning his own money and he likes interacting with the customers – he was nervous when he first started last week, but by the end of the first shift, his confidence had already increased.

Newman’s long-term goal is to earn enough money to live independently – right now, he lives with a family paid to support him in whatever way he needs.“I’ve never done it before,” he said, of living independently. “I think it would be fun.”

Doug Carroll, owner/manager at Extreme Pita, hired Newman after meeting Debbie Hastings, an employment specialist with Nanaimo Association for Community Living’s employment program at a Greater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce meeting.Newman didn’t require extra training compared with his other staff and it was an easy transition, he said. “Terry’s very coachable, and he’s willing to learn,” said Carroll. “He’s capable of doing a lot of the tasks here. It gives us an extra person to do a job that we’d have difficulty covering. The rewards far outweigh what we’ve put in.”

This success story is an example of what Community Living B.C., the provincial agency charged with delivering support and services to adults with developmental disabilities and their families, hopes to see more often. As part of its new employment strategy, which aims to see 1,200 new job opportunities province wide for community living clients open up over the next three years, the agency recently launched three regional pilot projects focused on increasing job opportunities for adults with developmental disabilities, including one in the central and northern Island region. “More and more people we serve have told us that they want to work,” said David Hurford, CLBC spokesman. “This really for us is a response to that growing demand.”

The project will gather together stakeholders, such as service providers, employers, self-advocates and school district officials on the Island from Duncan to Port Hardy to focus on community planning and building on existing strengths, he said. The group, assisted by a project manager hired by community living, will develop a regional employment plan, set targets and then get to work implementing it, said Hurford. “Part of it is to really educate employers about how easy it is to hire someone with a developmental disability,” he said. “Employers think it’s harder than it actually is.”

The region was chosen because service providers are working well with employers already and there is a strong self-advocate community, said Hurford. Of about 15,000 CLBC clients, about 2,200 had some sort of employment income last year, he added. Hastings said the key is finding the right fit for both employer and client and when this achieved, the results has benefits for both – people will support a business for being inclusive and it helps her clients feel more involved in the community. “It builds self-esteem because they’re doing what they see the rest of their family doing”, she said.

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