BY: Michelle Fairfield
DATE: Friday, April 16, 2004

Emily Parsonson’s smiling face has been seen on Community Living billboards acting as part of a provincial initiative to aide their new campaign. Emily was also seen around Trent Hills this week when she came to the community to support Community Living Campbellford/Brighton’s employment campaign.

The association filmed a television commercial during her visit last Tuesday, which also featured two local workers Dan Davidson and James Axford. The commercial on the benefits of hiring people with intellectual disabilities will be aired during the month of May, Community Living Month.

During an interview for the commercial, Emily talked about living her own life and her enthusiasm for her job at a Winners store in Etobicoke shone through. Her dedication and commitment is echoed by Dan and James here in Campbellford who deliver mail for World’s Finest Chocolate. Vice-President/Managing Director of the chocolate factory Ken Tully says they solved a problem for administration perfectly—having the mail reliably delivered at the same time each day. He refers to James and Dan as “committed, dedicated people doing a great job.”

The men have been working at World’s Finest for about two years. “Our relationship with Community Living has been excellent,” says Mr. Tully. “There have been no worries.” He adds, “It was one of the easiest decisions we’ve made around here.”

As an employer, Mr. Tully encourages other employers in the area to look at their operations and see if there are daily tasks that someone from Community Living could do. He says there are ongoing discussions to identify where World’s Finest might employ others through the agency.

Community Living is promoting the hiring of employees with disabilities as good business sense. It also works toward their vision of inclusion.

As an agency, Community Living view themselves as having a largely untapped market of productive, dedicated and reliable employees. Working with employers, they pre-screen potential employees to help find the right one for the job. They support both employer and employee through on-site job training and coaching for the new employee and disability awareness training for staff as well as ongoing support if needed. In Campbellford, the Job Zone job service supplies employees for short-term odd jobs and long-term positions.

According to research information provided by Community Living, 86 per cent of employees with a disability average or above average attendance records and 90 per cent rate average or above average in performance ratings. In terms of safety on the job, 97 per cent are at or above average. Lower staff turnover is also among the benefits to employers, with workers who have a disability being five times more likely than others to stay on the job.

For more information about employing a dedicated and reliable employee please contact us at Community Living Campbellford/Brighton.