Four Ladysmith businesses are being celebrated for their dedication to diversity.
Community Link Connexions Inc., a member of BC EmployNet, presented four new employers in Ladysmith with a Diversity @ Work window sticker in recognition of their inclusive hiring practices.
The stickers were recently presented to the Town of Ladysmith, Take 5, Atchison Palmer Leslie Chartered Accountants, and Yellow Point Lodge.
Two years ago, five other Ladysmith businesses were recognized with Diversity @ Work stickers — 49th Parallel Grocery Stores in Ladysmith and Cedar, In the Beantime Café, Ricky’s All Day Grill, Roberts Street Pizza, and Tim Horton’s.
The Diversity @ Work sticker is an initiative of BC EmployNet, a province-wide network of service providers committed to advancing employment opportunities for people with developmental disabilities.
“We recognize businesses that believe in diversity and have made a paradigm shift in their hiring practices,” Community Link Connexions stated in a press release. “The sticker will allow consumers in our community to know which businesses have actually demonstrated a commitment to diversity in the workplace by hiring a person with a developmental disability.
“With the distribution of the Diversity @ Work sticker, we recognize businesses that have developed a true employer/employee relationship where the employee with a developmental disability is given all the same benefits and protections as any other employee that would do the same job who may not have a disability.”
The Diversity @ Work sticker initiative started in 2010 when a group of employment counsellors wanted to recognize business owners who hire people with developmental disabilities, explained Tina Fabbro, director of Community Link.
“We are aware that even if a business owner is keen on having a diverse workforce, it requires work and dedication because it’s a new approach,” she said.
Fabbro says the sticker initiative also helps show customers which businesses are inclusive.
“Research shows that 80 per cent of people prefer to give their business to businesses that have a diverse workforce,” she said.
Fabbro says that in the last few years, it has become clear that it is important for employment services to focus on finding a great match between the employee and the employer. This has led to some great success stories, like that of Michael Jochumsen, who works at the Town of Ladysmith.
“He comes to work, and he just has a beaming smile on his face every time,” said Fabbro, who picks Jochumsen up every day. “He loves his job and loves the interaction with his co-workers. This means so much to him.”
Community Link is an employment training and community support service for high school students and young adults with developmental disabilities funded by Community Living BC and the Ministry of Housing and Social Development.
Community Link delivers person-centered, creative, innovative and flexible services in Ladysmith and surrounding communities to assist and encourage full participation in community life. All support is grounded in the firm belief that work is an integral part of adult life and the presumption of employability.
“The benefits of a diversified workforce are many — our experience confirms that the enthusiasm, dedication and positive attitude of the individuals we support have a positive impact on co-workers’ outlook and morale at work,” Community Link states on its website.