The Edmonton Chamber of Commerce workforce diversity program is designed to help persons with disabilities find meaningful employment. With support from Alberta Employment, Immigration and Industry, the extended workforce diversity program unites two related initiatives to provide more targeted employee placements.
"This is an exciting venture for the Edmonton region," said Lori Farquharson, the chamber's community development manager. "It advances the work we've been doing to date and provides a more coordinated approach to matching qualified employees with employers."
One component of the initiative involves assessments and will be managed by On Site Placement Services (OSP) under the Employment Services for Persons with Disabilities Program. This approach assigns individual specialists to work with each of the following Edmonton based community agencies: the CNIB (formerly known as Canadian National Institute for the Blind), Canadian Paraplegic Association (CPA) - Alberta, Capital Health Regional Mental Health Program, and Persons with Developmental Disabilities (PDD) Edmonton Region. Each agency will refer persons with disabilities to their assigned specialist to identify employment goals and evaluate the worker's unique skills and abilities.
Every month, supporting the work of OSP, the Chamber's website features Job Seekers who have graduated from one of the programs offered by OSP and are seeking work. Additionally, the information can be found in Edmonton Commerce News and the chamber's e-newsletter.
Operating simultaneously, the second component managed by Edmonton Chamber of Commerce is the Edmonton Employment Consortium (EEC). This has been developed to engage employers in activities designed to increase job opportunities for individuals with disabilities, and to raise awareness of the value they bring to the workforce. The EEC is comprised of organizations committed to increasing employment opportunities and on the job supports for persons with disabilities including those suffering from mental illness.
"We are extremely pleased with the response from employers; many have already made the commitment to diversity and have human resource policies in place. Joining the EEC brings their knowledge and experience for the benefit of our community," says Farquharson.
Blair Lundy has assumed the role of chairperson of the consortium. Blair is a mentor, mediator and coach. He is also the distribution manager for Company's Coming Publishing Ltd. and brings a great wealth of experience to the table. Blair's previous positions include:
vice president, Junior Chamber of Commerce
alderman, City of Leduc
vice chair, Alberta Provincial Board for Persons with Developmental Disabilities
chair, Court of Revision
board member, Edmonton Metropolitan Regional Planning Commission
national board member, Psychiatric Nurses Association of Alberta
chair, Boys and Girls Club of Leduc
national vice president, Canada Jaycees
"Blair is a leader in employing individuals with disabilities and creating and promoting an inclusive workplace says," Farquharson. "His knowledge and experience point clearly to the value individuals with disabilities bring to the workforce."
The Edmonton Employment Consortium is growing and we invite businesses wanting to provide leadership and interested in creating and or enhancing their diverse workplace to participate in this rapidly growing initiative. The consortium will host a variety of seminars this year on subjects relating to the employment and retention of employees with disabilities. The contributions of EEC members are important in generating even greater awareness of the benefits in having a diverse workplace. – less–ZoomInfo