RBC Foundation provides employment support for Holland Bloorview clients
Donation helps fund Pathway to Employment program for youth with disabilities
Finding a first job and entering the workforce can be a challenge for all young people. They need work experience, whether paid, co-op or volunteer, to build their skills and confidence and gain the many social, financial and mental health benefits that come with employment.
The need for employment support is even more critical for young people with disabilities, but they don’t have equal access to these valuable early experiences. They face major barriers to successful employment, including discrimination, medical needs and physical barriers, and there’s a lack of programming to help them connect with employers, access supports like job coaching and build skills such as goal setting, planning accommodations and networking.
Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital is stepping up to fill that gap by providing clients with work experience, coaching and support tailored to their individual needs through a program called Pathway to Employment for Youth with Disabilities. This innovative program is being supported by a generous donation from RBC Future Launch, which funds programs, tools and resources for young people entering the workforce.
The Pathway program equips youth living with a physical, intellectual or developmental disability, a genetic or medical condition or autism with the skills, connections and experience they need to enter the job market and succeed in work and in life. Starting in high school and lasting for up to three years, it helps them develop their personal action plan and connects them with employers, who also receive coaching for the recruitment process.
This invaluable experience, training and career mentoring program is delivered by occupational therapists, life skills coaches, employers and youth facilitators with lived experience of disability, who can provide clients with the assistance they need to prepare them for successful employment.
Andrew, a Holland Bloorview client, began his Pathway program as a volunteer, then worked successfully for a summer in the mailroom of an employer partner. “I got more confident with my working skills, and I got more social,” he says of his experience. “It made me less worried about finding future jobs.”
Andrew will next be connected to life skills and post-secondary transition programs and a youth employment organization to support his goals.
“We’re excited to be working with Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital to help bring the promise of RBC Future Launch to life through this important Pathway to Employment for Youth with Disabilities project,” said Mark Beckles, Vice-President, Social Impact & Innovation at RBC. “We have a responsibility to prepare young people for the opportunities and ambiguities of the future. That starts with teaching them valuable skills to keep them future-ready and feeling prepared for the future of work.”
Carolyn McDougall, Manager of Employment Pathways at Holland Bloorview, says funding from organizations such as RBC and @RBC Future Launch makes work experiences during high school possible for youth with disabilities. “This support helps youth build confidence, self-awareness and excitement about being part of the workforce,” she says.
More information about youth employment support at Holland Bloorview can be found here.
And interested employers can check out our new Employer Resource Hub.