CASTLEGAR — A one-day conference at Selkirk College’s Castlegar Campus will bring employees, employers and service providers together to bust myths around employing people with disabilities as it supports a culture shift that benefits everyone.
On May 28, Selkirk College will host the Talent, Passion, Participation — Employment Conference to connect the region on proactive ways to enhance opportunities and build a stronger workforce for the future.
“There are still a lot of questions about how to hire people with disabilities,” says event coordinator Kate Nott. “This conference will help answer those questions from all perspectives while exploring ideas and misconceptions so that employers and employees have a better understanding of working together. By the end of the day, people will have made meaningful connections, better understand the wide range of disabilities, and both employees and employers will know how to access available resources.”
Two keynote speakers will be presenting at the conference to tell stories about how they have made a difference in breaking down barriers.
Hon. Steven Fletcher will be coming from Winnipeg to speak about his challenges and then rise to become Canada’s first quadriplegic Member of Parliament. The avid outdoorsman, naturalist, former champion kayaker and young engineer, was heading back to work at a gold mine north of Winnipeg in 1996 when his car struck a moose. The accident left Fletcher paralyzed, but not defeated.
Former Tim Horton’s franchisee Mark Wafer will also be sharing evidence-based benefits on hiring people with disabilities. He’s been an advocate for inclusive employment in Canada for more than two decades. Wafer believes that hiring people with disabilities is the right thing to do and can prove how it can have a dramatic positive effect on a business’s bottom line.
The conference will also feature three series of workshops offering a range of topics for participants to choose from. “There will be hands-on workshops, discussion panels, shared resources, breakout sessions with the keynote speakers and presentations to debunk myths,” says Nott. “This is a day not to be missed if you are an employer curious to explore more diverse hiring, an employee looking to further your understanding of what is available to you, or a service provider looking to connect and collaborate.”
Lunch will be provided and the day will end with further opportunities for employers and employees to connect through a trade show and a fun mix and mingle, showcasing the talents of Selkirk College students.
Leading up to the conference, there will be a series of workshops available to help prepare employees. “We will help build an employee’s confidence by identifying their talents and passion, sharing information about disclosure and accommodations, and helping them prepare for applying for work,” says Myriam Spencer, Accessibility Coordinator at Selkirk College. Spencer will facilitate these workshops and regional service providers will also be connecting with people to help them prepare prior to the conference.
Tickets are $40 for the public and free for current Selkirk College students. The conference received grant funding from the Ministry of Advanced Education, so funds raised through ticket sales will go toward developing a student award benefiting Selkirk College students with disabilities. To register and learn more about the workshop details visit selkirk.ca/talent-passion-participation.
For further information, please contact Kate Nott at firstname.lastname@example.org or 250-354-3216.