Employment training for special needs residents

Transitions pilot an opportunity for those who typically don’t get them

NEWS by Matthew Strader  
A unique employment program is coming to Caledon Community Services, and with some government funding, it’s going to provide opportunity to a number of Caledon residents who need it.Transitions will establish employment opportunities for those in Caledon living with special needs and bring to the employment base, which is typically a demographic that can struggle to find gainful employment.“We’re working with what we feel is an under served demographic in our community,” said Cathy Perennec McLean, director of employment and development. “To help them become more employable, and then match them with an employer.”Transitions is an employment program that targets and will be specifically designed for persons who have been identified with a disability.

The program is set up in two phases. The first phase includes some coaching and workshops.

“We are working with adults, so the specifics end up depending on what their (clients) specific challenges are toward employment,” Perennec McLean said. “It’s not a cookie cutter. It’s about what they are looking for. We have to supply them with the proper tools and research.”

Perennec McLean explained that it’s on the leaders of the program to assess and address the barriers their clients are facing, and aid them in hurdling those barriers into the workforce. It also requires the team to work with the employer community and bring skills and create matches that work for everyone. Ongoing coaching will also go along with the placement to ensure, of course, a smooth transition.

“The first phase is coaching with a part time placement, and the second phase is full time placement,” Perennec McLean said. “The goal is to see employers so happy, they keep them on.”

Anyone interested in the program can contact Caledon Community Services staff Maureen Tymkow, Nicole Dumanski, or Perennec McLean. Tymkow will be managing the program, with Dumanski working as an employment transition specialist and manager.

The program began on Oct. 4, will serve 16 individuals and last for 24 weeks.

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