– By Corinne Arseneau

Inclusive hiring works. New Brunswick Association for Community Living (NBACL) and the Ready, Willing & Able (RWA) program are encouraged by Fredericton businesses that are creating real-work-for-real-pay employment for individuals with an intellectual disability or Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). We are excited to help employers increase their knowledge around inclusive hiring practices, and build capacity in the workplace. This untapped workforce can help address current labour shortages while making businesses stronger, more diverse and productive.

Locally, Corinne Arseneau works as RWA Labour Market Facilitator with the New Brunswick Association for Community Living (NBACL).  Corinne works with various agencies province-wide that support job seekers with intellectual disability and ASD, and employers, to promote opportunities. She has engaged with more than fifty employers in the Fredericton area and is highly motivated to work with local businesses to increase their ability to create win/win employment opportunities. Is your business ready, willing and able to hire a person with an intellectual disability or ASD? Here’s what you need to know to be a partner in change:

What should I expect from an employee with an intellectual disability or ASD? Like people without a disability, individuals with an intellectual disability or ASD are all different, with unique strengths, skills and talents. RWA assists employers with hiring candidates in positions that align with their skills and strengths. Employees will likely have experience and interest in your field of work and a strong dedication to their role.

Will I have support? Corinne is dedicated to providing support to employers and their employees from recruitment to maintenance. She has the expertise needed to assist employers to capitalize on hiring individuals with a diverse skill set. Necessary supports (such as job coaches, on-the-job accommodations or workplace modifications) can be made available on a short or long-term basis. Other forms of support may include:

  • RWA Works:  This is a series of web-based, publically available courses covering a variety of topics on inclusive employment. They provide employers with knowledge and increased confidence to hire.
  • New Brunswick Association for Community Living (NBACL) Transition to Work Program: Transition Facilitators support local high school students from grades 10-12, including FHS, LHHS, and OHS with an intellectual or developmental disability to become workforce ready. Upon graduation, students are supported to secure employment or pursue post-secondary education at the college level to obtain the skills, training and/or education to meet their goals and the needs of employers. Through extensive job readiness preparation, students are provided with opportunities to learn essential employment related skills. Employers may take advantage of co-op placements to provide additional training time for students to transition into permanent work.

What accommodations do I need to make? Employees are different, with unique abilities and needs. All employees, with or without disabilities, require accommodations of some sort. Accommodations for employees with an intellectual disability or ASD should not cost your business anything. If necessary, agency partners or Corinne will provide disability awareness training, workplace modifications or assistive technologies. Discussion concerning best practice for specialized or customized roles that increase productivity, and reduce inefficient multi-task positions may be all the accommodation necessary.

Corinne can answer additional questions often raised by employers: How will inclusive hiring benefit my business? How will inclusive hiring affect my other employees? What compensation do I offer? What about liability? Do I have to offer full-time hours to participate? To build on the momentum of thinking creatively to solve barriers to successful hiring and retention, contact Corinne Arseneau via email, carseneau@nbacl.nb.ca, or call 506-453-4475 to speak about your hiring needs.

With Opportunity Comes Possibility

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