Employment Counselor Melanie White helps adults with disabilities find a space in the workplace (Matthew Allen / The Northern View)

Opportunities for everyone to contribute

Employment disability month shows how everyone can bring value to the workplace

Employment counsellor Melanie White believes that no matter what somebody’s physical or mental capabilities are, everyone should be given a chance to live productive lives and contribute to society. That is why she is working hard to promote employment disability month and show people why it is so important.

“Every individual, whether they have a disability or not, should be provided with the opportunity the same as everybody else to have meaningful employment,” she said. “…They should be able to pay taxes, they should be included just like everybody else.”

White is a counsellor for Thompson Community Services (TCS). Along with the other counsellors at TCS, White works to secure customized employment for adults with disabilities. The counsellors call the process job carving, and it involves finding out what a client’s strengths, weaknesses, likes and dislikes are, then to secure the “dream job” for them that will fit those criteria. There are currently 15 adults in Prince Rupert who have received job placements through TCS.

White receives clients who have been recommended by Community Living British Columbia, she helps find a placement for them, writes a proposal for the employers and advocates that the client is paid more than minimum wage.

“We have a discovery process where we find out what their interest is, where they like to be, where they don’t like to be,” said White. “We help them identify where they feel the most comfortable and where they want to be placed because our goal is long-term and enjoyable employment.”

When a client has been placed, TCS goes through a work site and makes an assessment to make sure the individual has support. They can assist in helping employees with any extra training they need, such as a forklift ticket, or if they need a uniform.

“If we find a placement we do our best to get them the training they need,” White said.

The work does not stop with the employee. TCS works with the client’s supervisors or coworkers to make any adjustments easier. For example, White said TCS produces videos to help the employers understand the individuals better.

Jamie Alexander is an example of an individual who has successfully integrated into the workplace and secured long-term employment as a result of the program. Alexander has collated and delivered newspapers for the Northern View for seven years. When he first arrived at the Northern View, White was his job coach, consistently checking in with him to make sure the new job was going okay.

“She asks me how I’m doing, and I tell her I’m doing good at my job,” Alexander said.

Alexander currently comes into the office twice a week, and says he enjoys meeting new people on his routes.

White said the goal of the TCS program is to empower clients like Alexander so they can perform their jobs independently. As the individual becomes more independent, TCS transitions of “fades out” of the service, allowing the individuals to be self-sufficient.

“I think it’s really important because there’s a lot of employers who are involved but they don’t realize the capacity of work that people are available to do,” she said.



matthew.allen@thenorthernview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Rainmakers dominate Caledonia

Rainmakers win first of two games 71-31

Teams set for All Native tournament

The 51-team field features 39 automatic qualifiers and 12 qualifying teams

Sports briefs

Here’s what’s going on in Prince Rupert sports this weekend

PART I: How Prince Rupert schools teach Indigenous language to hundreds of students

A multimedia series with videos and photos from children’s Sm’algyax classes on B.C.’s North Coast

Rent continues to rise in Prince Rupert, drops in Terrace

A report from Canadian Mortage and Housing Corporation shows the average rent has risen by $132

Heart of Our City: A fisherman with two loves

Norm Ostrom has owned one boat in his life — Arne A. — for almost 60 years

Carriers wanted for the Northern View

We have open routes for carriers all over Prince Rupert

#MeToo at work: Employers play a role in fixing culture of harassment

B.C. workplaces are getting ahead of being the next MeToo debacle, calling on experts to train staff

B.C. woman brain injured in crash as a baby gets $1.1 million in damages

Trial heard the woman was 16 months old, being carried by her mother when they were both hit

Court denies WestJet’s bid to toss out discrimination lawsuit of former worker

Mandalena Lewis is suing WestJet over allegations of gender-based discrimination

VIDEO: 3 months later, rescued sea lion released back into ocean

The young animal was found in Campbell River three months ago

Sagmoen neighbours recall alleged hammer attack

Woman was screaming outside Maple Ridge townhouse in 2013

Accused B.C. drug smuggler to be extradited

Supreme Court of Canada upholds extradition order for accused Shuswap drug smuggler, Colin Martin

One convicted, two cleared in 2014 deaths of men in B.C.’s Cariboo

Andrew Jongbloets convicted of manslaughter in deaths of Matthew Hennigar, 23 and Kalvin Andy, 22

Most Read