Lesley Beaulieu is grateful to the people who have given her the opportunity to succeed.
Beaulieu is a graduate of the University of Regina’s Campus For All program, a four-year inclusive post-secondary education experience for adults with an intellectual disability.
More than 18 months ago, Beaulieu was hired by Farm Credit Corporation (FCC) to work with the accounts payable team at head office.
“My work consists of processing invoices, helping the file clerk fold cheques, and stuffing and sealing envelopes. These cheques are sent to all the vendors FCC deals with,” says Beaulieu. “What I enjoy the most about working at FCC is the people. Everyone is super nice and my co-workers see me as a valuable part of the team.”
Beaulieu shared her experiences at an on-campus event acknowledging October as National Disability Employment Awareness Month. Other speakers at the event included President Dr. Vianne Timmons, Laura Ross, the MLA for Regina Rochdale and Michael Hoffart, President of Farm Credit Canada.
Three years ago, Campus For All, in partnership with Creative Options Regina, created an initiative called 4to40. The initiative connects people experiencing disability with employers who embrace a flexible 4 to 40 hour work week.
Since 4to40 was created, 12 students and graduates have earned permanent jobs. This includes three who work at FCC and two at the U of R Fitness and Lifestyle Centre.
“Research shows that post-secondary education enhances employment outcomes for individuals who have an intellectual disability, including a wider range of job opportunities and greater pay – just like it does for their peers,” says Faith Savarese, Coordinator for Campus For All. “However, we still have a long way to go to find equality. Nearly 70 per cent of Canadians living with a disability are unemployed.”
Dr. Vianne Timmons has taken a personal and professional interest in the rights of the disabled.
“Campus For All is a meaningful undertaking and something that is close to my heart,” says Timmons. “Inclusive education is important – but it is equally important to promote employment opportunities for young persons with disabilities. Employers who have hired persons with disabilities have found they rate average or better on job performance, attendance and workplace safety – and this is something of which we should all take note.”
Timmons praised FCC for its inclusive hiring policy and issued a challenge to other employers.
Says Timmons: “I’d like to issue a challenge to other organizations and show leadership like FCC has. Look at 4to40 options and see for yourself the great potential of persons with intellectual disabilities.”
When Greg Cruson’s grandfather founded Dutch Industries in 1952, he believed in lending a hand to those facing employment barriers.
Now, 64 years later, Cruson, is carrying on that approach as general manager at the family’s Pilot Butte farm implement company.
Tonight, he’s getting an employer of excellence award at a Saskatchewan Association of Rehabilitation Centres banquet in Regina for his role in hiring those with intellectual disabilities.
“It’s a bit of a shock,” Cruson said. “I didn’t even know I was nominated.”
Cruson said he believes very much in continuing the approach to hiring that his Dutch immigrant grandfather brought to Canada.
“Everybody we have working in the plant has some type of obstacle to their work, so there’s no reason why we can’t bring on people who have intellectual disabilities and find ways of accommodating them.”
One of those employees is Dylan Morin, who works as a bolt finisher, packer, and cleaner at the plant.
“The people are nice, caring, at times funny,” said Morin, who works three days a week at Dutch Industries.
He said it’s “awesome” Cruson is getting the award and is grateful for the opportunity to show what he is capable of.
“People with intellectual disabilities can do the job,” Morin said. “There’s no way they can’t do the job. It just takes patience.”
CBC Saskatchewan’s The Morning Edition
Posted: Oct 26, 2016
WHAT IS VITAL SIGNS?
South Saskatchewan Community Foundation (SSCF) is one of 32 community foundations across Canada participating in this year’s Vital Signs program. More than 85 communities across Canada and around the world use Vital Signs to mobilize the power of community knowledge for greater local impact. For more information about Vital Signs or to access local reports, visit www.vitalsignscanada. ca.The Vital Signs report is a check-up that measures the quality of life in our community, identifies trends, and shares opportunities for action.
WHAT DOES IT MEASURE?
This year’s report includes local, provincial and national data related to the following indicators: • The Economy • Demographic Trends • Reconciliation • Arts and culture • Health and wellness • Sense of Belonging • Housing • Environment • Learning • Food Security • Immigration • Work and more. The indicators show how the Regina Area compares to other communities and how the community has changed over time.
WHAT AREAS ARE COVERED?
This third annual Regina Area Vital Signs report focuses on the Regina Census Metropolitan Area and also includes information on the First Nations communities in Treaty 4 territory.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
In addition to detailed statistical analysis and data mining as well as sharing real stories of our community’s work to make the Regina Area a better place to live, the Community Foundation will engage the community in pursuing a number of Vital Conversations to explore the issue areas in further depth.
WHAT MAKES VITAL SIGNS DIFFERENT?
It is a unique collaborative project carried out with the input and support of a large number of community partners including representatives from the charitable sector, government, non-profit and business. The power of this report is in its accessibility. The data brought together to tell the story comes from a wide range of sources rarely available in a single report, however the story is told in a way that is interesting, understandable, accessible, engaging, and above all, actionable for everyone living in our community.
HOW IS IT USED?
Experience in South Saskatchewan and other communities has shown that the Vital Signs report is an important discussion piece for the community and provides much needed clarity around the current, potential and perceived issues facing our citizens. It invariably becomes a key tool for many different groups working for the betterment of our community.
We were very excited to be featured in the Winter 2014-2015 SARC Update! You can check it out below.