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416-422-5644 extension 245
“Our Employment Services team provides services to any job seeker with a disability in Toronto. We specialize in serving people with Spinal Cord Injuries and other mobility impairments; however our services are available to anyone with any disability. Also, thanks to our current partnership with Balance for Blind Adults, we also have specialized expertise for serving people with blindness/visual impairment."
SCI Ontario Employment Services are proud to offer tailored services to meet your needs.
Each of our job seekers works one-on-one with a dedicated Employment Counsellor, who stays with you for support and follow-up. The Employment Counsellors can assist you with:
- Identifying your reasons, or motivation, to work, and how to stay motivated during your job search and on the job.
- Identifying your skills and strengths through interest, aptitude, and skill assessments.
- Identifying your job goals based on your interests, skills, and current labour market trends
- Developing a job action plan outlining next step to reaching your employment goals.
- Identifying your potential barriers to work and creating an action plan for those barriers.
- Connecting with other community services and supports that may assist in you preparation for work.
- Figuring out how and when to disclose your disability and request an accommodation
- And, if going back to school is what you’re interested in, we can help you decide what school program to take, and finding financial assistance
Our team of Job Developers can assist you in your goal to find employment. You and the Job Developer both work equally as hard toward your job search; you learn as much as you can about how to job search and commit to completing the traditional job search which, depending on your individual Job Action Plan, may consist of research, networking, cold calling, or sending out resumes (see Drop-in Employment Resource Centre). The Job Developer meets and partners with as many employers as possible to help them with their hiring needs, therefore accessing the hidden job market, and contacts you when there is a job vacancy that you may be interested in applying for. When you decide to apply for a job, the Employment Information Coordinator at SCI Ontario can help you tailor your resume and cover letter, as well as prepare for any meetings with the potential employer.
Job Retention services are available through ODSP Employment Supports. “Job Retention” refers to the general services and supports SCI Ontario Employment Services can offer to help you keep your job, and help your employer keep you as a great employee. As described by ODSP:
"Most employees require different types, levels and intensity of supports on their job. Businesses often provide supports to their employees during the normal course of business. However, some employers may need additional assistance in creating an inclusive workplace that is supportive of individuals with disabilities and provide the tools employees with disabilities need to perform the job effectively."
Workplace supports that are specifically designed to assist an employee with a disability to perform his/her job may include modifications to the work environment (e.g. automatic door openers, signage on walls, telephone amplifiers, etc.); adjustments to employment policies and practices (flex time to accommodate disability needs, reimbursement of employee expenses, etc.); and/or changes in the way certain job functions are performed that allow the employee to complete the tasks successfully (e.g. providing a written list of job duties, team assignments, etc.).
Job retention supports funded by ODSP Employment Supports may include the following, as appropriate:
- Job monitoring and interventions to assist clients and employers if there are work performance issues;
- Assisting the client to negotiate workplace supports;
- Assisting employers to identify and develop job accommodations; and
- On-the-job supports (e.g. job coaching (link to Job Coaching section), motivational strategies, assisting the client to arrange community supports, etc.).
Job retention supports may be provided on a regular or as needed basis, for up to a maximum of 33 consecutive months after job placement (maximum of 15 consecutive months for clients not in receipt of ODSP Income Support). The support is intended to assist the individual to maintain employment and if necessary, identify when increased support and/or tools to perform the job are required. Job retention supports may involve direct assistance in the workplace, contact with clients over the phone, brief meetings/consultations with the employer and support for work-related activities outside the workplace. The type of tools or support required will depend on the individual's disability-related needs, personal preferences, job tasks, employer needs, and the availability of existing supports. Effective supports are designed with both the employee and employer input.
Career Advancement services are also available through our ODSP Employment Supports program. This service applies to you if you are working, but considered “under employed” based on your skills, experience and current needs of the labour market. If realistic in the current labour market, we assist you to advance within or between jobs, which can include activities such as learning additional duties, pursuing opportunities for promotion, exploring other job opportunities using transferable skills and experience, and job skills upgrading.
Job Coaching can start as soon as you start the job (during training), if you have to learn a new skill as part of your job, or if you’ve been working for a while but are encountering some difficulty with a particular task. Job Coaching services from SCI Ontario Employment Services can be requested any time by either you or your employer to help ensure your success on the job.
This service involves you working with our Job Coach to develop tools and techniques to help you learn or remember how to do a certain aspect of your job independently. This usually involves our Job Coach working closely with yourself as well as your employer. The Job Coach support is designed to be temporary as you get increasingly more independent in completing the task.
Assistive Technology assessment and training is available through our partnership with Toronto Rehabilitation. This service is provided to clients who have a physical barrier to accessing the computer which can impact job goal selection, job searching activities, and success on the job. If you are eligible, our Employment Services team will refer you to Assistive Technology where your adaptive technology needs will be assessed by an Occupational Therapist and Rehabilitation Engineer. They will provide a report and recommendations, and explore any potential for funding assistance with the Employment Services team.
Drop-in Employment Resource Centre
Our drop-in Employment Resource Centre (ERC) is located at 520 Sutherland Drive, on the first floor of the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute facility. It is open Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm, and the Employment Information Coordinator is on-site to assist you with any employment related questions.
Job Seekers utilizing the ERC will have access to resources, printer/fax/photocopier, and computers which have been equipped with adaptive technology such as:
- a track ball mouse,
- adjustable desk height and keyboard position
- head mouse
- JAWS for Windows ® Screen Reading Software
- Kurzweil 1000
- Alva Braille Display
- Juliette Pro Braille Printer
- Topaz Document Magnifier
Other ERC services include:
- customized resume and cover letter writing
- interview preparation
- career exploration interest and skills assessments
- Job Search / Skills for Success Workshops (link)
- As well as extensive resources, information and referral services.
Job Finding Club and Skills for Success Seminars
Our free 1- week Skills for Success program assists our job seekers in:
- Developing effective job search strategies
- Upgrading interview skills through mock interviews in a friendly and supportive environment
- Accessing most current labour market information and job search tools
- Learning new workplace communication skills including effective conflict resolution and decision making techniques
- Boosting confidence through exercises related to assertiveness, confidence and a positive self image
- Improving workplace well-being with knowledge and tips about successful stress management methods
- Enjoying self discovery while learning more about various personality types and the impact of these types on our behaviour and communication at work through Personality Dimensions Training
- See our Skills for Success Workshop calendar to find out when the next sessions are offered (link). To register call Jenny Gilker at 416-422-5644 x245 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Job Search Support Group
Our Job Search Support Group is a great way to connect with other job seekers in Toronto. This Group is a forum to discuss job searching tips, ways of staying positive and motivated, as well as networking. The Group is attended and facilitated by one of our Job Developers, so is also a great way to stay connected with the Job Development team.
Assessment Centre Services
SCI Ontario Employment Services is an Employment Ontario Assessment Centre. Services include:
- Second Career Strategy
- Skills Development Applications
- Targeted Wage Subsidy
- Self Employment Benefit Applications
A network member of JOIN
SCI Ontario Employment Services is a network member of the Job Opportunity Information Network, or JOIN. JOIN consists of 23 agencies in the Toronto Region that work together to increase employment outcomes for people with disabilities. www.joininfo.ca
Information Interviews: A Form of Networking?
It is no secret that networking has become an integral part of job searching. After all, what better way to gain knowledge about an organization while making your interests known? SCI Ontario’s Employment Services offers you the opportunity to do just that!
Kathryn Parks, one of our clients of Employment Services benefitted greatly from networking through information interviews. “One information session turned into one interview and the possibility of employment,” she says. She advises job hunters to remain positive and persistent – after all, it takes courage and enthusiasm to approach potential employers in person in today’s age of technology. “Nothing ventured, nothing gained,” she proudly states. SCI Ontario’s Employment Services are catered individually to each client. If clients feel overwhelmed about attending information sessions or interviews, employment counsellors and job coaches will work with them one-on-one to ensure confidence and success.
Today, Kathryn is employed at two different locations and continues to network on a regular basis to set herself up for optimal success. When she is not working, she attends all of the information sessions held at SCI Ontario by various organizations.
Interested in our Employment Services? Contact Jenny Gilker to register with at (416) 422-5644 Ext. 245 or by email at email@example.com.
Don’t miss out! A familiar face goes a long way. Networking is even more important than applying for jobs regularly!
An Interview with Nancy
Q. How did you first become involved in Employment Services at SCI Ontario?
A. I used to volunteer for Spinal Cord Injury Ontario. I know very well the services they provide. After graduation, I signed up for their service right away.
Q. Did you have any previous training or education that you wanted to utilize in the workplace?
A. My personal experience and insight about spinal cord injury was a big advantage for me. Most of the clients I serve currently are people in the SCI community. My back ground in Psychology helps me communicate and work with people better.
Q. What did you find most helpful about Employment Services at SCI Ontario?
The staff are so nice and friendly. They are very knowledgeable in what they do. The workshops are very helpful. They also helped me polish my resume.
Q. Did you complete a job trial or placement before landing employment?
A. Yes, I was temporary covering the position for 2 months, before they posted the official job posting, which I applied and secured the position.
Q. What type of employment did you gain through the program? (Field, part time, full time, etc)
A. I was on contract for three years, I have just turned full-time permanent this year.
Q. How long did it approximately take to find employment?
A. It took five months, during which I only had two interviews at two companies that are totally not wheelchair friendly.
Q. What types of accommodations, if any, did SCI Ontario’s Employment Services help you obtain at your workplace?
A. Since I am working for SCI, the workplace is already very wheelchair accessible. At one point, I was able to negotiate a flexible schedule, such as working at home for half a day.
Q. Did you continue to receive ongoing support after finding employment?
A. I was able to receive advice from staff from the employment centre in terms of how to bring up issues to my manager in the best and most assertive ways
Q. Are you satisfied with your current job?
A. Yes, very much.
Q. Would you recommend SCI Ontario’s Employment Services to other people with disabilities who are seeking employment?
A. Yes, for sure. They understand people with physical disabilities, many of the staff have a physical disability themselves and they are very understanding and patient.
Are You LinkedIn?
Michael Dzura started with SCI Ontario’s Employment Services in 2013 when a Regional Services Coordinator informed him about the program. At the time, he was interested in finding a part time job. “To me, it was important to find a job that I would not only enjoy, but be passionate about,” he says.
Michael’s skills and experience range from IT and software programming to writing articles pertaining to common technological trends such as new gaming systems, and the effective maintenance of personal computers. To date, he is the proud author of a variety of articles, home to Fresh Print, an online magazine powered by Owlware Limited. (http://www.freshprintmagazine.com/author/michael/) Michael has also played an important role in designing and programing the website known as (http://www.novalte.ca/), an opportunity that formed through his networking skills. “I had worked previously with the owner of the company, and was approached by him for this project where I learned how to program,” Michael shares. But despite the valuable and practical experience gained, it was not until Michael was introduced to an organization at Ryerson University, dedicated to assisting IT students, that Michael discovered the importance of LinkedIn. (http://www.npower.org/Our- Locations/Toronto.aspx) Impressed with his knowledge and skills, the staff at N Power offered him opportunities to enhance his skills and stand out to future employers. Most significantly, they informed him about the benefits of having a LinkedIn profile.
In his most recent success story, Michael attended a LinkedIn workshop, offered by SCI Ontario’s Employment Services, where the importance of a well-constructed LinkedIn profile occurred to him. “What stood out the most for me about LinkedIn was the way it displayed your contacts/connections. Unlike Facebook which primarily shows you the people you’ve added as friends, LinkedIn would show multiple layers for how you are connected to people based on degrees of connection. 1st-Degree Connections are people you have directly connected with by invitation. 2nd-Degree Connections are people who are directly connected to your 1st-degree connections, and 3rd-degree are directly connected to the 2nd-degree. On top of that, LinkedIn would use this hierarchy of layers to help you when searching companies. Immediately you can see if your contacts know anyone who works at that company, and from there it enables you to ask your contact if they can introduce you to that person. This model literally opens the way for endless possibilities of networking and getting your foot in the door,” Michael states.
Civic Action, an organization that had been working directly with LinkedIn to deliver workshops on successful profile building in various community settings, selected 3 winners for best profile, featuring them in an article. To his very pleasant surprise, Michael was one of them!
The winners got an exclusive chance to visit the LinkedIn headquarters in downtown Toronto, networking with a wide range of professionals over lunch and a tour. “One of the outcomes was that I may get to participate in a larger workshop on successful profile building. It was an awesome experience,” he says.
Are you LinkedIn? Attend our upcoming LinkedIn workshop to build your best profile. Find out more by contacting Jenny Gilker at 416-422-5644 extension 245.
This program is funded in part by the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario