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New Supported Employment Program Launching in Belleville

Belleville selected as one of three Ontario communities to launch new Supported Employment program

The Belleville Chamber of Commerce breakfast welcomed Jamie Burton and Louie DiPalma as their guests on Wednesday, March 28th.  Hosted by the East Central Ontario Training Board, Jamie described the work being done on a provincial scale designed to engage employers to participate in the recruitment of people with disabilities.  His condensed presentation for our member’s breakfast powerfully dispelled the myths of the costs for accommodation and the concerns often heard – as he highlighted their academic backgrounds, productivity levels, retention rates, low absenteeism and compliance with health & safety regulations.  A person with disabilities recruited and accommodated is an employee retained – and in today’s job market, talent is hard to find and harder to keep. 

This information, on the heels of the announcement that Belleville has been selected as one of three communities in Ontario to launch the Phase 1 “Supported Employment” program designed to replace ODSP – bodes well for employers in the area desperately seeking human resources.  The new program launches April 1st and intends to match individuals who identify with a disability to an employer and provide ongoing support through the tenure of the employment relationship.  In addition to job coaching for both employees and employers, financial support may also be available for skills acquisition & on-the-job training.  The Belleville Chamber is happy to note the four agencies supporting the program are members – Meta Employment Services and the Canadian Mental Health Association have been long-time members but welcome the addition of Agilec and the Canadian Hearing  Society – now all involved with the program to match and maintain sustainable employment relationships.

The Ontario Chamber of Commerce has also been involved with the development of a portal designed to match employers with potential employees. The Belleville Chamber will be working to build links from our local network to this service and plans to host a more interactive session where our members can learn more about how to recruit people with disabilities and access resources to assist with accommodations.  We also look forward to partnering with ECOTB as the Belleville community “Empowers Talent” using the Dolphin model on Disabilities Mentoring Day, October 24th and engaging as many members as possible to this unique event that has changed the way employers recruit in communities across the province.