Showing the benefits of supported employment

Customer Service Associate Anna Driscoll works at the Inclusions East retail outlet in Montague's Down East Mall as videographer Jeff Eagar of Hummingbird House Productions captures footage.

For years organizations like Inclusions East in Montague, Community Inclusions in O'Leary and Tremploy in Charlottetown have been helping Island residents with intellectual challenges find rewarding work in their community.

Now, a new video series will show just how valuable their work is to employers in PEI’s business community.

Inclusions East is overseeing production of the video series with the help of a Wellness Grant from the Department of Health and Wellness.  The videos will highlight clients at work in the community with the hope of creating more opportunities for both business operators and people with intellectual disabilities

“There are many successful employment arrangements between small business operators, support organizations like ours, and Islanders with intellectual disabilities.” said Devon Strang, business development officer with Inclusions East.   "We want to raise awareness among business owners and the public that these supported employment programs exist.”

He said supported employment helps the community and clients by enabling businesses to access an untapped pool of capable and reliable employees.

“Fewer than 30 per cent of Canadians with intellectual disabilities are employed, as opposed to approximately 67 per cent of non-disabled Canadians. For those who are employed, they are earning less than half of those without a disability,” he said.

“Without some kind of employment assistance, governments may face lost tax revenue and increased expenditures providing social assistance to people who can and want to work.”

The videos will highlight the many positive effects of supported employment for individuals with disabilities, including: 

income, community participation, autonomy, respect, a social role, relationships, economic self-reliance, and increased self-esteem.

Supported employment also benefits the parents and families of those with intellectual disabilities.  Family members see their child become a contributing member of society and, in some cases, may even benefit from their contribution to the family income.

Strang said there’s a lot of good news coming out of his organization and the video project is going to help spread that news to businesses and clients that can benefit from more inclusive employment practices.

“Our vision is of a world in which every individual is as self-sufficient and as productive as they are able to be, and develop to their optimal potential in all aspects of their lives.” he said.

Inclusions East was established in 1976 and is the largest organization serving people with intellectual disabilities in eastern Prince Edward Island. The group offers day programming, employment services, community support and residential services.

Inclusions East has a mission to support individuals with an intellectual disability as they contribute to, and participate in, all aspects of community life.

The videos will be published on the Inclusions East website as well as on Twitter @InclusionsEast1 and Facebook @inclusionseast

The first video is now available here.

More than 60 projects have received Wellness Grant funding since the program launched in January 2015. 

General Inquiries

Department of Health and Wellness
4th Floor North, Shaw Building
105 Rochford Street
Charlottetown, PE   C1A 7N8

Phone: 902-368-6414
Fax: 902-368-4121