Diversity spices life — and the workplace

PORT HARDY—Community Links employment coordinator extolls virtues of hiring workers with developmental disabilities

Port Hardy —  Local business owners who are struggling to find reliable help might find they are able to have some of their needs met by hiring individuals with developmental disabilities.

At the Port Hardy & District Chamber of Commerce meeting Jan. 21, Michéle Papp, employment coordinator with the Community Links Supported Employment Program, with main offices in Port McNeill, explained that her role is to help job seekers with disabilities find or retain employment.

Having a job results in numerous benefits for people with disabilities, she said. For instance, it improves self-esteem, creates a sense of belonging, provides individuals with social and friendship opportunities, and, of course, greater financial security.

The benefits go both ways.

Studies and employer experience surveys show that adults with disabilities work 98 per cent safer; stay on the job five times longer; have 86 per cent greater attendance, and create 20 per cent higher productivity, Papp said.

Fifty-five per cent of employers say they work harder and 80 per cent of consumers prefer to support businesses with diverse workforces.

“In a nutshell, hiring people with disabilities makes good economic sense,” Papp said.

The Community Links Supported Employment Program provides assistance with resumes, coaching and counselling in job search techniques, work attitudes and social skills. They also provide individualized on-the-job training to support participants in meeting the employer’s job performance expectations, provide follow-up support to ensure long-term success, and personal advocacy for employment-related matters.

Business owners who are interested in exploring the opportunity are invited to contact Michéle Papp at 250-956-3134.