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More youth with developmental disabilities get help finding work

March 29, 2023 at 9:34 am  BC, News, Politics, Provincial

Youth with developmental disabilities will get extra help to transition from school to work through a $2-million provincial grant.   

Impact, run through the Delta Community Living Society, helps youth between 15 and 19 with developmental disabilities find employment through supports and services. As many as 360 more youth could get jobs through the three-year grant, which expands the program’s reach to 10 B.C. communities.

“We want youth with developmental disabilities to have work options where they are valued and can grow,” said Sheila Malcolmson, B.C. Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction. “We’re funding programs, like Impact, to help young people get jobs that matter to them.”

Impact and supporting youth with developmental disabilities is further supported through the recently released Re-imagining Community Inclusion Workplan, which was developed with community partners and people with lived experience. The workplan includes a 10-year vision that sees people with development disabilities thrive fully and equally, as well as work to ensure access to meaningful employment, while contributing to a more inclusive and barrier-free economy.

“Getting into the Impact program and getting a paid job greatly increased my confidence in myself,” said Matt Pettengell. “I learned a lot of things about what it’s like to be employed by the government. I look forward to working at my job again this summer.”

The $2-million provincial grant to extend and expand Impact comes from the 2022-23 Canada-British Columbia Labour Market Development Agreement. Under the agreement, the Province receives more than $300 million each year to fund employment services and supports, including those provided through the 102 WorkBC centres throughout the province.

Quotes:

Carla Qualtrough, federal Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion –

“Employers across Canada are looking to hire talented youth who add value and innovative perspectives to their teams, including youth with developmental disabilities. It is essential that we provide these youth with opportunities to get the skills they need to enter the workforce, and the federal government is working with B.C. to make this happen. Through investments in skills development and employment services, young Canadians with disabilities in Delta and the Lower Mainland will get the necessary skills and job training they need to succeed in the workforce. Last year, nearly 177,000 British Columbians were supported under the federal labour market transfers with B.C. It’s through transfers like this that make programs, like Impact, and the important work that they do possible.”

Mitzi Dean, B.C. Minister of Children and Family Development –

“For youth with developmental disabilities, the Impact program now offers even more opportunities to explore career pathways and build life skills. Expanding this program so more youth can participate is a crucial milestone on our path toward creating a more inclusive support system for British Columbians.”

Brenda Bailey, B.C. Minister of Jobs, Economic Development and Innovation –

“Growing B.C.’s labour market by finding ways to support all potential workers is foundational to our StrongerBC Economic Plan. Providing youth who have developmental disabilities with employment-related skills and access to career exploration and development resources means both inclusion and success for these individuals and our economy.”

Anita Sihota, executive director, Delta Community Living Society –

“The first three years of the Impact research project confirmed that providing employment training and opportunities to youth with developmental disabilities in their high-school years will improve future employment outcomes for these youth. We saw first-hand the growth in confidence, independence and self-awareness among the participants. With Impact 2.0, we look forward to collecting more data and exploring best practices for youth employment interventions.”

Dan Collins, chair, British Columbia Employment Network –

“During the past three years, members of the British Columbia Employment Network have seen incredible outcomes among the youth who have participated in this project. With three more years of funding for the Impact project, we anticipate building a compelling body of evidence to prove that employment interventions help youth to get jobs and also support youth with their personal growth as they approach adulthood. We also look forward to discovering what the recipe is for best practice in supporting youth with intellectual disabilities to obtain employment.”

Karla Verschoor, executive director, InclusionBC –

“We are thrilled that the Impact project will continue to provide employment support for youth with disabilities in our province. Introducing employment opportunities for young people is one of the best ways to build an inclusive workforce that in turn benefits everyone.”

Learn More:

Delta Community Living Society: https://www.dcls.ca/pages/about-us

For information about the Re-imagining Community Inclusion Initiative, including its workplan, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/governments/about-the-bc-government/initiatives/rci

A backgrounder follows.

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