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Expo for people with disabilities

Event focused on celebration, work advancement

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An upcoming expo is designed to help individuals with disabilities succeed in the workforce.
Ability Axis Employment Expo will be held at Victoria Inn (1808 Wellington Ave.) on May 17 from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.


The second annual event will feature more than 40 exhibitors — including employers, community agencies and government offices — and several seminars. The aim is to foster greater employment and career success for Manitobans with disabilities.


"It’s a hybrid event, because it’s a cross between a job fair and a career fair," said Rob McInnes, co-founder of the Scurfield Boulevard-based Diversity World that is hosting the event.


"It’s a chance for job seekers ranging from high school students to mature adults to meet with employers and agencies. The guts of it is that we want to make it easier for people with disabilities to connect," he said, noting more than 700 job seekers attended last year’s inaugural event.


McInnes, who lives in Linden Woods, said he hopes the expo helps dispel the misconception that people with disabilities are less employable.


"It’s still a human rights issue. Society still harbours the belief that people with disabilities don’t have a place in the workforce," he said.


One successful job seeker at last year’s event was Taylor Scott, who has Asperger syndrome.


Having finished high school at Fort Richmond Collegiate, Scott was keen to join the workforce. After visiting the Partners for Workplace Inclusion Program Manitoba booth, he got help with his resume, cover letter and interview skills.


The Fort Richmond resident subsequently began looking for work and landed a custodial job with Impark.


"I enjoy it a lot," said Scott, 20, who has been working at a parkade at Health Sciences Centre for almost a year. "It’s my dream job."


Scott said the expo helped him explore his options, make connections and improve his confidence.


Exhibitor Michael Embury, a diversity co-ordinator at Manitoba Public Insurance, said the organization hired a number of individuals after last year’s event — including one with a master’s degree.


"The event was so successful. It exceeded my expectations, as there were many educated, experienced job seekers from a variety of backgrounds," Embury said.


The St. Boniface resident said the focus of MPI is "on the word abilities, not disabilities."


"We were able to fill these positions solely on merit, as they were the right candidates with the right credentials," Embury said.


"They weren’t hired purely because they came in categories. It’s important our employee base is representative of the citizen base of Manitoba."


For more information, call 487-0307 or visit www.abilityaxis.com.

simon.fuller@canstarnews.com

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