Including disabled people in the workforce

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Inclusion of disabled people in the workforce was encouraged in Airdrie and across the province throughout the month of October, as part of Disability Employment Awareness Month.

According to Alexi Davis, director of employment services with Prospect, which owns Rocky View Employment Services, hiring people with disabilities is a “smart decision” for employers.

“People with disabilities bring new and different perspectives to your team. They are naturally adept at dealing with obstacles and the great majority of supports they need to do their jobs at peak performance are available at no cost to employers,” he said. “What started as ‘the right thing to do’ has become, to savvy employers, a smart business decision.”

Rocky View Employment Services, which operates out of Airdrie, helps individuals with or without disabilities find work by matching their skill set with employer needs, he said. Residents can access services at the facility in Airdrie at no charge, where Internet, computers, printers, information on job postings and one-on-one career advising is available.

Rocky View Employment Services promoted Disability Employment Awareness Month through various social media platforms, according to Davis. Staff members also took part in various initiatives on the job, like wearing bright, clashing colours and patterns to work to symbolize diversity, he said.

“People with disabilities represent a highly skilled and underutilized demographic. Employers who consider this talent pool gain access to almost 15 per cent more potential employees, since one in seven Canadians lives with a disability,” he said. “Furthermore, our workforce is aging. With age comes an increasing number of disabilities. Employers who know how to accommodate will have a competitive advantage in getting greater productivity from their people.”

The provincial government deemed October Disability Employment Awareness Month for the first time this year. According to a press release issued by the Province Oct. 4, the goal is to raise awareness about an “under-represented talent pool” and encourage inclusive employment across Alberta.

“Albertans are hard working, capable and dedicated and they all deserve to be celebrated as such. Disability Employment Awareness Month is an opportunity to educate and recognize the rich diversity of skills and ideas that persons with all abilities contribute to our workforce, and to acknowledge that a varying ability is not an inability,” Irfan Sabir, Minister of Community and Social Services, said in the release.

For more information on Disability Employment Awareness Month, visit alberta.ca

To find out more about Rocky View Employment Services, visit rockyviewemployment.com

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