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April 15, 2015 / Summer Street Blog

Being inclusive when it comes to workforce participation

The oneNS Coalition is moving forward on the work of the Nova Scotia Commission on Building Our New Economy and the vision set out in the “Now or Never”, also known as the Ivany Report.
 
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Each month the coalition facilitates conversations on various topics related to the economy, and in February the focus was on workforce participation. Workforce participation measures those who are interested in working, but for some reason can’t. Aging baby boomers, responsibilities like child care or aging parents, having the right education or going back to school to get it, foreign credential issues, technology, and low rates of new job creation, difficulty getting work experience, discrimination, and discouragement… are only some of the factors that affect it. 
 
Summer Street was asked to make a presentation, which brought a whole other  level of awareness to the discussion. Summer Street creates opportunities for persons with intellectual disability to gain independence, employment, and pride. Bob Bennett emphasized Summer Street’s client-centred approach. “We need to connect our clients to the workforce, to the extent to which they want to be connected, and based on their passion and gifts.” Bob reinforced the idea that nothing can happen without partnerships. “It takes a community to help us realize the goals of our supportive employment program.” 
Supportive Employment 027webSupportive Employment041web Supportive Employment309email
 
One way that businesses, institutions and governments can bolster workforce participation of those with intellectual disability is to create purchasing policies that support Summer Street’s social enterprises and that of its partner agencies across the province.
The bottom line is that workforce participation is an indicator of the vitality of the economy. And these organizations make important contributions to the local economy.
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