For people living with a disability, finding suitable and meaningful work can be difficult.
Inclusion Powell River (iPR) has been instrumental in developing employment positions and successfully operating employment services programs for many years. Leni Goggins, iPR’s socio-economic director, said Powell River is “an inclusive community, but there are people with disabilities who are not currently working, but who might be able to do so if there was a more inclusive working environment.” I can’t do it,” he said.
That’s why Goggins led research projects such as inclusive manufacturing, which led to the creation of OneLight Firestarter, a manufacturing innovation social enterprise. His two recent social enterprises, used furniture and home goods store Kindred Rebuild and video production company Diversa Collective, both employ people with disabilities.
Goggins’ latest research project, called “The New Inclusive Economy,” was recently selected to present at a major conference in Vancouver this June.
“This project was selected to be presented at this year’s CASE (Canadian Association for Employment Assistance) conference, which brings together sectors and service providers focused on employment support,” said Goggins. “That could include people with disabilities, new Canadians and people who face multiple barriers to employment.”
Canada’s Accessibility Act defines the term disability as “any physical, mental, intellectual, or communication impairment, whether permanent, temporary, or intermittent, that prevents a person’s full and equal participation in society.” defined as “any obstacle that prevents.”
Living with a disability can mean physical disability, but it can also mean that injured older workers need help. Her 25 per cent of Canada’s population lives with a disability. This means that one in four people has some type of disability that is a barrier to finding employment.
“After 30 years of focusing on inclusive employment of people with disabilities, we found the employer side of the equation missing,” Goggins said. “Obviously we support employers, that’s part of what we do, but we also look at what employers are doing to be inclusive and we ask them. There’s not much to do. Or what they don’t do.”
Goggins said the research project is collecting information from employers across B.C., and this is the first time the results will be released.
“The goal of this project is to develop a set of practices and structural conditions for meaningful employment for people with disabilities,” Goggins said.
In other words, the project aims to bring awareness to employers regarding the creation of inclusive jobs and bring about long-term changes in workplace practices.
“For example; how [employers] Post job? ” added Goggins. “Are there physical barriers in the workplace? Are there leadership roles for people with disabilities?”
The new Inclusive Economics Research Project will be announced on June 8, 2023.
“The fun part is touring all over British Columbia with the research results,” Goggins said. “We plan to visit 10 communities, and our goal is to jointly facilitate learning sessions between inclusive employment advocates in the communities and employers who are not yet inclusive.”
Mr. Goggins emphasized that this part of knowledge sharing involves engaging with employers who are not physically present. [inclusive] still. She wants these employers to know that “so many British Columbian employers are doing it successfully.”
Goggins said he doesn’t want this research to be shelved.
“We want it to exist all over the world,” she added.
In July, Powell River plans to hold a large event to present the findings.
“I really value this community because I grew up here,” Goggins said.
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