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City of Richmond Promotes Workplace Inclusion Through Customized Employment ProgramCity of Richmond
RICHMOND – One in 10 or 3.8 million of working aged Canadians have a disability. About half of working aged Canadians with a disability are unemployed. As an inclusive employer, the City of Richmond has committed to actively creating employment placements for individuals with disabilities.
“Many individuals with disabilities are systematically denied opportunities for meaningful employment,” said Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie. “But with assessment, matching and support between an individual’s needs and abilities aligned with available job duties, this situation can be rectified through a customized employment approach.”
Through its Customized Employment program, the City of Richmond works in partnership with specialized employment services organizations from the community to create employment placements at various City operations. Since 2016, the City has hired and placed 15 individuals through this initiative. It is hoped that this program will motivate local businesses to follow suit in developing an inclusive workplace at their businesses.
In early October, the City of Richmond was awarded the 2017 Employer of the Year award from Jobs West for developing a successful inclusive employment environment. Jobs West, an employment division of the Developmental Disabilities Association, is one of the many community organizations that the City partners with in order to find job seekers with diverse abilities. In under a year, the City of Richmond placed three individuals from Jobs West into employment roles in the Project Development area, Richmond Ice Centre and South Arm Community Centre.
In addition, Richmond’s community associations and community centre staff have long been employing individuals with disabilities and continue to do so – there are a number of individuals employed at various community centres in Richmond and paid by the community associations (separate and prior to the City’s program).
The Customized Employment model is a flexible process designed to personalize the employment relationship between a job candidate and an employer in a way that meets the needs of both. The Customized Employment Program provides individuals with disabilities with employment opportunities that they would otherwise have difficulty attaining. It utilizes the strengths, capabilities and skills of the individual in order to meet the needs of the operation.
The workplace environment can contribute positively to the well-being of individuals with disabilities. Where mental and/or physical limitations do exist, they may be manageable in the workplace and should not prevent employment in specific or unique roles. Tasks and responsibilities for individuals should include those that challenge the individual to reach his/her maximum potential (not just simple, mundane tasks).
When individuals with disabilities work, the outcome is usually an improved sense of belonging – individuals are happier and more self-confident, have more friendships and social opportunities, have greater financial security and independence, and are able to expand their skills and abilities. Hiring individuals with disabilities broadens the community’s understanding of disabilities and inclusivity, which contributes to a healthier, more diverse society and community to live in.
About Jobs West
Jobs West is a supported employment service that assists individuals with developmental disabilities to prepare for, find, and maintain employment in Vancouver. For more information on Jobs West’s services, visit www.jobswest.ca
About Developmental Disabilities Association
The Developmental Disabilities Association is a non-profit organization that provides services to over 1600 individuals and families at 50 community based programs in Vancouver and Richmond. For more information on our programs and services, visit www.develop.bc.ca.
Director, Corporate Communications and Marketing