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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Month-long water quality advisory still in effect for Rupert residents

The City of Prince Rupert recommends those with weakened immune systems boil water prior to use

Jennifer Rice North Coast MLA seeks re-election

Northwest politicians announce intent on elections

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 20 to 26

Rabbit Day, Hobbit Day and One-Hit Wonder Day are all coming up this week

Heart of the City – Jason Scherr

Try and Try again - Prince Rupert Seamen Rugby Club

No COVID-19 public exposures in the North Health Region at this time

Northern Health Authority issued a statement on Sept. 17

B.C. or Ontario? Residential school survivors fight move of court battle

It’s now up to Ontario’s Court of Appeal to sort out the venue question

B.C. transportation minister will not seek re-election

Claire Trevena has held the position since 2017

Young B.C. cancer survivor rides 105-km with Terry Fox’s brother

Jacob Bredenhof and Darrell Fox’s cycling trek raises almost $90,000 for cancer research

B.C. migrant, undocumented workers rally for permanent residency program

Rally is part of the Amnesty for Undocumented Workers Campaign led by the Migrant Workers Centre

Preparations underway for pandemic election in Saskatchewan and maybe B.C.

Administrators in B.C. and around the country are also looking to expand voting by mail during the pandemic

Nearly 20 per cent of COVID-19 infections among health-care workers by late July

WHO acknowledged the possibility that COVID-19 might be spread in the air under certain conditions

Ferry riders say lower fares are what’s most needed to improve service

Provincial government announces findings of public engagement process

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Application deadline for fish harvester benefits program extended

Those financially impacted by the pandemic have until Oct. 5 to apply

Most Read