Click Here for What’s Happening at the Campbellford Community Resource Centre – CCRC Flyer
Click Here for What’s Happening at the Campbellford Community Resource Centre – CCRC Flyer
In recognition of National Volunteer Week that takes place from April 6 – 12, 2014, Community Living Campbellford/Brighton would like to express our sincere thanks to all of our volunteers, including Companions, Students, Board Members, Family Home/Respite Providers and Rights Commission Committee Members! THANK YOU!
BELLEVILLE – There is an untapped workforce in Ontario that may be overlooked by employers.
Joe Dale is on a mission to change that.
Dale is founder of the Rotary at Work initiative. A partnership with Community Living Ontario started five years ago, the program strives to create employment opportunities for people with disabilities.
Dale, who lives in Whitby, works as a consultant and also acts as executive director of the Ontario Disability Employment Network. Thanks to an Ontario Trillium Grant, he spends two days a week working from the Community Living Belleville and Area office.
“It’s essentially an education program,” said Dale. “We educate businesses about the values and benefits of hiring people with disabilities.” There are basically two elements to the program – making a strong business case hiring people with disabilities is good for the bottom line and using those businesses already in the practice as champions for the cause.
“There is no charity in this approach,” said Dale. Employers interested in hiring people with disabilities are connected with employment agencies and organizations for help locating potential candidates. Dale explained the benefits of hiring those with disabilities are broad and do affect a company’s bottom line.
Significantly lower turnover rates, greater loyalty and dedication, fewer accidents and lower absenteeism are some of the areas documented in studies. Chris Rutt, general manager at LKQ Keystone Automotive in Trenton, said his company had great success with deaf employees before it’s bumper re-manufacturing facility moved out of province.
Prior to the Rotary program, Keystone reached out to the Ontario Hearing Society and worked with the organization to bring deaf employees on board. Not only were the deaf employees dedicated, but material supply costs were reduced and return rates fell. Rutt said over a four-year period the company’s turnover rate for employees was reduced by about 20 per cent. For every five hearing employees that left, only one hearing-impaired would leave.
“Everybody cares but our hearing-impaired staff were especially particular about their jobs and work.” They were also always open to suggestions and readily offered and received feedback, he said. Rutt said given the opportunity to hire he would “definitely move in that direction again having had such a positive experience.” Rutt spoke to the Rotary club in Trenton last spring about the benefits of hiring people with disabilities. He said he told others in the business community “if you want to improve your bottom line this is something you need to look at.”
Dale said studies show consumers also prefer to do business with companies who employ the disabled and 53 per cent of the marketplace is comprised of those with disabilities, their family members and close relations. “It’s a huge marketplace issue,” said Dale. About 16 per cent of the population in Canada is disabled, a number Dale said is projected to grow to 20 per cent by 2020. “The range of disabilities and range of skills and abilities are as broad as the general population,” he said. Hearing and vision impaired, physical, developmental, genetic and mental health disorders are examples of disabilities.
Statistics Canada reports 49 per cent of people with disabilities are unemployed. Dale said if those who have never been able to access the labour market and those who have given up were included that number would be closer to 75 per cent.
In Belleville alone Dale estimates there are almost 8,000 working-age people who have a disability.
He said the myths and misconceptions exist not just in the business world but community-wide.
Including disabled people in the workforce could also ultimately result in savings for taxpayers. In Ontario $4 billion is spent annually in income support payments and that is growing at a rate of 8 per cent per year. A large number of people with disabilities receiving these payments are still living in poverty.
More than 300 people with disabilities have been hired through the Rotary Works initiative “that we know of”, said Dale. With awareness being spread there could be others who Rotary has not been made aware of.
By: Janet Richards The Community Press
CAMPBELLFORD – Steve Sharpe knows first hand the positive results of hiring people with disabilities.
Sharpe is general manager of Sharpe’s Food Market in Campbellford which he owns with his brothers Tom and John.
Sharpe hired his first disabled employee in 2011 after attending a Community Living Campbellford/Brighton breakfast and learning about the Rotary at Work program. Rotary at Work founder Joe Dale and Toronto Tim Hortons owner Mark Wafer, who has had great success with disabled employees, were guest speakers.
Sharpe said the meeting helped dispel myths and made him realize he’d been “labouring under misconceptions” about hiring people with disabilities. With the assistance of Community Living he hired a young woman to work in the deli department. “She works with 13 other women and does a great job, she’s part of the team,” said Sharpe.
Prior to his involvement with Rotary at Work Sharpe said he thought hiring disabled employees would result in high absenteeism, a greater risk of accidents and could require expensive accommodations. “This young lady has the best attendance,” said Sharpe, adding those myths have been dispelled and he has realized disabled employees have a lower turnover rate and are extremely loyal and hard working.
His employee Jennifer Grol-Rae appears with him in a video promoting the Rotary at Work program. She holds a sign reading, “Got my dream job”. Sharpe said the Campbellford resident always wanted to work in the store. Sharpe now uses his positive experience to champion the cause through the Rotary program. “As an inclusive employer and Rotarian I was asked to help with the Rotary at Work program,” he said. The program introduces employers who have experience with people with disabilities to those who are potential employers.
Sharpe also arranged for Dale and Wafer to speak at an independent grocers association meeting of 500 suppliers, wholesalers and retailers. In addition, Sharpe works with a Community Living committee to try to advance employment opportunities for those with disabilities. “It’s been very positive and we’ve had a number of hires,” he said.
In November 2012 Sharpe was presented with an Annual Champion’s League Award at the Ontario Disability Employment Network (ODEN) Conference in Alliston. “This is a vast untapped labour market,” said Sharpe. “It’s not benevolent, it’s good for business.”
Community Living Campbellford/Brighton was the recent recipient of two $500 grants donated through the RBC Employee Volunteer Grant Program.
This program recognizes employees and retirees for the good work they do in their personal time, by volunteering in their communities. Employees and retirees who donate more than 40 hours per year to a charitable organization can apply for a grant of up to $500 for their organization.
As long-term employees of RBC, Elizabeth Park and Marlene Mood became well-known and respected in their communities for being responsible corporate citizens. Their ongoing contributions and support of several programs and community initiatives served to grow their stature in the community, and although both women are now retired, their dedication and sense of community and philanthropy have not.
Community Living noted in a news release that the pair, whose spouses, Chris Park and John Mood, are members of its board of directors, provide a great deal of support for the organization. Whether it’s contributing to official functions or assisting with fundraising events such as the annual Christmas Food and Toy Drive, they can be relied on to give help, Community Living said in a news release.
“Elizabeth and Marlene continue to dedicate countless hours of steadfast, ‘behind-the-scenes’ support to this organization,” it stated.
The two grants will go to the organization’s Outcomes Sponsorship Fund, which provides persons with an intellectual disability financial assistance to achieve their personal outcomes and to realize their life goals and dreams. For some people, those goals might not be obtainable due to a lack of resources.
The Outcomes Sponsorship Fund has helped people take advantage of educational opportunities, purchase orthotics, go on vacation, pay tuition, buy dentures, and reconnect with families. The fund pays for medical supports not covered by any other source. The fund is also used to offset costs for items that are otherwise unaffordable and to reduce the burden of the high cost of accessible transportation, which restricts some people from full participation in the community.
Since 1999, RBC has made more than 24,500 grants and donated in excess of $12 million in celebration of employees’ volunteer efforts.
CBC’s ‘The National’ to air Disability Employment Exposé
‘The National’ showed an exposé related to employment for people with a disability. Among those interviewed, expect to see ODEN Employer Champion Mark Wafer and past conference keynote Rich Donovan of Fifth Quadrant Analytics (producer of the internationally renowned Annual Report, “The Global Economics of Disability”).
Rich Donovan, Fifth Quadrant Analytics
The 2014 Membership drive is on! Join or renew your membership by going to: http://odenetwork.com/why-join/
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