Inclusion BC launches Ready, Willing and Able employment campaign
Natalie Hamilton

There are many British Columbia residents who have a disability and are “Ready, Willing and Able” to work. In fact, there will be 500 new graduates alone this spring looking to land 500 jobs.

Inclusion BC is on a mission to help those graduates secure jobs through the launch of a campaign called Ready, Willing and Able, which asks employers in the province to include people who have a disability in their workforces.

PosAbilities, a B.C. multi-regional, social-service organization which provides employment supports to people who have a developmental disability, is endorsing the campaign.

“The purpose of the campaign is to connect with corporate Canada,” says posAbilities CEO Fernando Coelho.

“We’re asking employers to consider the value of hiring someone with a disability. People with a disability can and should work and bring value to the workplace.”

Fernando says a significant barrier to employment is the fact human resources offices don’t necessarily think of people who have a disability as part of the potential hiring pool. “We believe we have to start at the human resources level in educating and talking about this group.”

PosAbilities is involved in the campaign from the perspective of being an agency that provides employment services to people who have a disability. Organizations like posAbilities that offer employment services and supports, can help businesses successfully integrate a person into the workforce, Fernando notes.

Hiring a person who has a developmental disability makes good business sense. “There is a value of employing people who have a developmental disability in terms of its impact on the company’s bottom line,” Fernando says. An inclusive workforce contributes to the community and helps with integration too.

The plan for Ready, Willing and Able is built around strategic partnerships, best practices, community leadership and hard work, Inclusion BC states in a brochure about the campaign.

“We will start with the 500 high school graduates but that will just be our start. We want British Columbia to have the highest rate of employment in North America for people with a developmental disability.”

There are more than 42,000 British Columbians who have a developmental disability. In the near future, 500 will be transitioning from high school into the job market. “For these young people and their families, the changes and challenges will be many.”

Devon Marsland is part of the class of 2013. He says he’s ready, willing and able to work.

“I did a lot of work experience while I was in high school and I was really good at it,” states Devon.

“Now that I’ve finished high school I want to work in a paying job. I’m a hard worker and I’ll be a good employee.”

Inclusion BC hopes the campaign will open doors to real jobs for Devon and his classmates and keep those doors unlocked for additional employees in the future.

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