Community Living to co-host inclusion roadshow workshop

The Fort St. John Association for Community Living will co-host a panel discussion on June 28 at the North Peace Cultural Centre, highlighting the experiences of employers who aspire to be disability inclusive and the difference their employees make. 
Former ACL Executive Director Joseph Lang stands with Northern Cohort Researcher Keira Nichol, ACL Staff Ron Birchall, and volunteers/future farmers Isabelle Paynter and Andrea Conkin at the vegetable and greenhouse acreage in Baldonnel back in the summer of 2021. (Tom Summer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter)

FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — The Fort St. John Association for Community Living will co-host a panel discussion on June 28 at the North Peace Cultural Centre, highlighting the experiences of employers who aspire to be disability inclusive and the difference their employees make. 

Throughout June, 10 free in-person workshops are being held in Fort St. John, Prince George, Surrey, Vancouver, Smithers, Terrace, Cranbrook, Victoria, and Powell River, for businesses interested in learning about becoming more inclusive. 

Community Living’s Inclusion and Employment Manager Sheri Ashdown said they were approached by Inclusion Powell River to take part and felt they would be a good fit to co-host as they already collaborate with Powell River on other panels. They’ve also overseen several successful job placements in Fort St. John with local businesses. 

“We have really good matching processes that we put in place, it takes a little longer to hire somebody, but we really put in the initial footwork to ensure that the person we place matches the business’ needs matches their abilities and likes,” said Ashdown, noting their employment program has a 95 percent retention rate. 

The roadshow is just one part of a research report led by Inclusion Powell River, with $803,000 in provincial funding provided to engage with businesses and expand accessibility in the workplace 

Representatives from Urban Systems and the City of Fort St. John are expected to speak at the panel, noted Ashdown, as they’ve both partnered with Community Living to create what she calls ‘job carved’ positions. 

“We go in and kind of pull parts of positions within the organization or company, and create a position for someone we support,” she said. Self-employed people, BC employers, and people who identify as having a disability are all welcome to attend.

Written by Tom Summer, Alaska Highway News, Local Journalism Initiative

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