Let's Talk About: Employment
Introduction and Overview
Everyone wants a chance to live a meaningful and productive life and have a place in their community. For most of us, a job or a career builds personal and professional confidence, a connection to our community and with our peers. Through employment we often gain a sense of personal and professional value as contributing members of society.
With this in mind The NSDRC is pleased to be launching a new blog called Let’s Talk about: Inclusive Employment. The intention is to create a space for discussion and engagement where perspectives, ideas, questions and concerns about inclusive employment can be shared. We invite you to contribute to this discussion as a job seeker/self-advocate with a disability, employer/business person, and parent or community member.
Check out our Upcoming Blogs:
• Workplace Accommodations: Getting the best from your employees
• First Jobs: what was your experience?
The NSDRC provides employment assistance to youth and adults who have a visible or invisible disability and who may be looking for their first job, wanting to return to work, or taking an initial step toward their employment goals. We offer assistance to employers who want to hire and need more information.
What we offer:
For Job Seekers:
We use a self-directed approach offering you supports as needed to gain or strengthen your job search skills. We help you to define your employment themes and aide you to map out a plan of action.
• Skills and interests surveys/assessments
• Job search assistance
• Help with online applications
• Interview practice
• Employer matching when available
• Referrals to community resources
• Job Coaching when available or will refer you to a resource
We survey employers and the worksite in order to make a sound match between the business needs and the job seekers skills and talents. We go the extra mile by providing resources as available for the employer; such as resources to provide workplace adaptions and modifications.
• Matching job seeker to business needs
• Help to determine adaptations
• Resources for adaptations/wage subsidies as available
• Supplemental on the job training
• Go- to resource person
• One day mentoring opportunities
Introduction to Accommodations
Many of us will need a workplace accommodation to some degree at some point in our working lives. It may be due to a number of factors: physical disability, intellectual disability, a change in health, family responsibilities, an injury or a mental health issue amongst other reasons.
Job seekers who live with a disability whom I have met with are often hesitant to ask for workplace accommodations. Why? It means becoming vulnerable to the perceptions of others, it means disclosing what might be an invisible disability to their employer, and they often feel isolated when it comes to approaching their employer. The good news is that each employee also comes with their unique strengths and abilities.
Here are some suggested strategies that have proven to be useful when approaching an employer:
– Meet with your employer as soon as it is evident to you that you need an accommodation that will allow you to do your work.
– Be prepared. Explain why you need the accommodation, preferably in writing. Provide information that will help your employer understand the need.
– Do your research and provide some possible solutions and resources, perhaps solutions that have been successful for you in the past; a flexible schedule, assistive technology, modified tools, a physical modification of your workspace, ergonomics, training, coaching, job restructuring or a reassignment of tasks.
– Emphasize that you have the skills and strengths to do your job with the accommodation.
– Try to stay positive and confident-it conveys to the employer that you believe in yourself.
– If you are in a union, the union will likely help you and your employer with the procedures.
– If you need help to prepare your request and offer solutions, speak to your union rep, Human Resources, non-profit agencies that offer employment services or other professionals that have the experience, knowledge and resources to assist you and your employer.
– Workplace accommodations are unique to each individual. Each employee will have different needs. Even though they may have a similar disability they will also have different abilities and strengths. “There is no set formula for accommodation. Each person’s needs are unique and must be considered afresh when an accommodation request is made. A solution may meet one person’s requirements but not another’s, although many accommodations will benefit many other people with similar needs.
Disability Alliance: http://disabilityalliancebc.org/
Job Accommodation Network: https://askjan.org/
Neil Squire Society: http://www.neilsquire.ca/
Work BC: https://www.workbc.ca/Resources-for/People-with-Disabilities.aspx
BC Human Rights Clinic: http://www.bchrc.net/duty_to_accommodate
If we take a close look at our workplaces most of us would discover that very few employees and coworkers fulfill their responsibilities and complete their tasks in exactly the same way. However, in most cases the outcomes are similar and largely completed to the satisfaction of the employer.
What are “workplace accommodations?”
“To accommodate someone means to remove the barriers which prevent people from gaining access to jobs, housing, and the use of goods, services and facilities (e.g. public transit or schools)”.
An employee may work on a report tucked away in her office where it is quiet with potentially few interruptions. Conversely her co-worker finds her focus by working in the company of others where the energy level stimulates her thought processes. Each employee is productive and completes the report.
In order to work to the best of our abilities sometimes it is necessary to make adjustments in our environment, to the tools or equipment we use or to our work schedules. It is more common than we realize.
When accommodations are made available to remove barriers for employees who live with a visible or non-visible disability, the results show that not only do they work to the best of their abilities; those accommodations often benefit other employees and can create an environment that encourages productivity for all.
More information and resources for removing barriers:
Assistive Equipment Resources:
Health and Safety Resource:
Flexible Work Schedule
View previous Employment Blog posts here(Link will open in a new tab)