February 4, 2016 4:37 pm
Updated: February 4, 2016 11:46 pm

Government funding to help people living with disabilities enter the workforce

Immigration, Jobs, Skills and Training Minister Jeremy Harrison said the provincial government thinks people living with disabilities represent a segment of the population that is under-utilized in Saskatchewan's workforce.

Kael Donnelly / Global News
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REGINA – The Saskatchewan Abilities Council received government funding Thursday to help connect people living with disabilities to jobs in the province.

A total of $904,438 will go toward the Partners in Employment program. The program assists people living with disabilities in Regina and Moose Jaw by offering pre-employment and employment services to both individuals and businesses.

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“We see it as being a significant investment in the future of not just the province, but those individuals who are impacted,” Immigration, Jobs, Skills and Training Minister Jeremy Harrison said. “It ends up benefiting everybody.”

Harrison said the provincial government thinks people living with disabilities represent a segment of the population that is under-utilized in Saskatchewan’s workforce.

“We have made a concerted effort as government to find ways to engage more with disabilities in the workforce,” Harrison said.

“It’s vitally important. From the point-of-view of the province, we still have the lowest unemployment rate in Canada and this city, here in Regina, has the lowest unemployment rate of any city in the country, so we still have significant labour challenge.”

The funds come from a contract agreement between the Saskatchewan Abilities Council and the Saskatchewan government.

The council will use the money to help up to 423 individuals who are living with a disability, aged 16 and older, who are legally entitled to work in Saskatchewan and facing barriers to employment.

These barriers can include physical disabilities, cognitive or learning disabilities, mental health issues, health conditions or limited education and work experience.

Michael Rudolph has used some of the Partners in Employment Services. He said when he was completing group learning he learned interview skills, how to behave in the workplace, how to use Paratransit by himself, and how to get work on time.

Rudolph also did a work experience placement.

“I learned fine motor skills,” said Rudolph.

Tanja Ignatiuk, Saskatchewan Abilities Council Regina Branch program manager, said employers respond well to individuals who have the skills to complete assigned tasks.

“They’re interested in a quality candidate, a quality employee and it matters not to them if it’s a person with a disability or not,” said Ignatiuk.

“They’re just looking for a qualified worker and we’re proud of the fact that we’re able to provide them with that.”

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