Disabled Youth Earn Experience, Job Skills

By Rollason, Kevin | Winnipeg Free Press, October 3, 2012 | Go to article overview

Disabled Youth Earn Experience, Job Skills


Rollason, Kevin, Winnipeg Free Press


A search for a job is tough enough these days -- but what if you have no job experience?

And what if you also have intellectual disabilities?

For the first time in Canada, an innovative job-training and workplace-internship program pioneered at a children's hospital in the United States is helping young adults who have intellectual disabilities in Winnipeg have a better chance of getting work after high school.

Thanks to SCE LifeWorks, in partnership with Manitoba Hydro and the provincial government, Project Search is in its second year of assisting seven young adults turn their final year of high school into a year of work experience and training.

"We're replicating the program developed at Cincinnati's Children's Hospital," Oly Backstrom, president and CEO of SCE LifeWorks said.

"It's for high school students labelled with intellectual or developmental disabilities. Instead of their last year of high school, they go to Manitoba Hydro and the Manitoba government and work."

Manitoba Hydro provides a classroom in its downtown head office for all of the students to meet first thing in the morning and to be taught workplace skills.

Then the students fan out to spend most of the day working. The job placements are broken down into the three semesters so each of the students gets diverse experience at three different workplaces between September and June.

Besides Manitoba Hydro, the placements include the province's departments of Justice, Family Services, Labour, Civil Service Commission, and Infrastructure and Transportation. …

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