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Create an Inclusive Workforce this September


In 2014 the BC Government proclaimed September BC Disability Employment Month – an initiative that aims to celebrate people with disabilities in the workforce and also to promote more inclusive hiring throughout the province.

Despite all the recent efforts and initiatives, people with disabilities still experience significant challenges in finding employment.

According to the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction, more than half a million British Columbians self-identify as having a disability – that’s 15% of the population. Unfortunately, only one in four members of this demographic are employed, in spite of the fact that people with disabilities have comparable education and skill sets to people without disabilities. WorkBC has developed personalized services to help clients with disabilities.

How can WorkBC help people with disabilities?

Since April 2012, more than 27,800 British Columbians with disabilities have found a job through WorkBC.

Each YWCA WorkBC Centre has an experienced Customized Employment Job Developer (CEJD) who provides personalized services to clients with invisible and visible disabilities. Their services involve identifying, initiating or creating a new job, negotiating and re‑arranging work tasks to create a unique job or creating self-employment opportunities. They provide clients with an individualized assessment of their strengths, needs and interests, and develop an Employment Profile to assist them in obtaining employment. They also provide job coaching on how to succeed in the workplace.

Jill Gildersleve, CEJD at the YWCA Vancouver South WorkBC, explains that clients that have disabilities “are hoping to find a decent, interesting job that they can manage in terms of working speed, their energy level and the physical effort that is required, as these are all huge challenges for them.” Jill also believes that “employers are quickly becoming more open to hiring persons with disabilities simply because they have positions that they need to fill.”

Why hire people with disabilities?

Workers with disabilities perform just as well or better than their co-workers in punctuality, attendance, work quality, task consistency and overall proficiency. According to a study by Ready Willing & Able, there is significant evidence that hiring individuals with disabilities or Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) reduces turnover, improves attendance and either maintains or improves overall organizational performance. Other employees and customers of businesses who engage in inclusive hiring both report positive perceptions and experiences, almost 90% of consumers prefer companies that employ people with disabilities.

The most rewarding part of my job is when I meet with an employer who has hired one of my clients and they tell me it is working out great and ask if I have any more candidates just like them.

- Shane Dihn, CEJD at the YWCA North Shore WorkBC 

Are you an employer willing to increase your workplace diversity?

We can help you find suitable candidates, cover some employee on-boarding costs (like short-term training, uniforms and equipment) and fund employee disability accommodations, including technology.


If you are a job seeker looking for support in your job search, or a business owner or recruiter looking for candidates, visit one of our WorkBC Centres to get started. All our employment services are FREE.

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