A job can provide so much more than a paycheque. By offering their gifts and skills to a workplace, people bring value to their community. Financially, it also gives people control over their lives.
Unfortunately, Manitobans with disabilities are a largely underutilized resource in our province’s workforce. Over 14 per cent of Manitobans live with a disability — that’s a huge pool of talent to tap into.
Thankfully, a west Winnipeg organization is changing this.
SCE LifeWorks promotes diversity in the workforce by providing employment support and training for people with disabilities. Almost 30 years ago, a group of parents founded SCE LifeWorks to provide opportunities for their children with disabilities to participate in mainstream workplaces and help employers understand that they had skills to contribute. Now, their services help 192 adults explore career choices, find employment, receive training and later receive support in maintaining that job.
One of these people is Joey Oliver, a dishwasher at Chicken Chef on Portage who invited me down to his workplace for Take Your MLA to Work Day in honour of October being Disability Employment Awareness Month. Equipped with training from LifeWorks and support from his exceptional boss Lori Lucas, Joey has become a star employee. Now, he’s training new staff and making Kirkfield Park proud.
Our government is proud to support organizations like LifeWorks. SCE LifeWorks launched their Project Search program in partnership with the Winnipeg Foundation, Manitoba Hydro and our provincial government. With Project Search, young people spend their final year of high school doing work experience and training at placements in Manitoba Hydro or some of our government’s departments like Justice, or Family Services. The program is the first of its kind in Canada and aims to give students with disabilities more opportunities and support to find work after high school.
Our government also created the Manitoba Supported Employment Network. Through connecting organizations, individuals with disabilities looking for jobs are connected to employers and provided with training support and follow-up support.
We want to promote an inclusive workforce that includes employees with disabilities and makes everyone feel good coming to work. Thank you to SEC LifeWorks and Joey and Lori for being role models for the rest of our community.
If you have questions or concerns, please contact me. You can call me at 204-945-3731 or email me at Sharon.Blady@YourManitoba.ca