Interior employment conference builds skills, showcases self advocates

On February 28 and March 1, CLBC offices in the North and South Okanagan hosted a Supported Employment and Marketing conference at the Kelowna Airport Four Points Sheraton Hotel. The conference was for service providers who support the people CLBC serves to find and keep employment.

Close to 90 service providers from the area attended the conference to learn about strategies to collaborate on employment and to also learn firsthand from people with diverse abilities who are employed, or who are seeking to become employed.

The event was MC’d by Mackenzie Paterson, self-advocate and Project Assistant with CLBC’s include Me! Initiative, who did a wonderful job of introducing and thanking guests, keeping the event on schedule, and participating in one of the panel discussions.

Speakers at the event included: Annette Borrows, President of the Canadian Association for Supported Employment; Kevin Koopmans, entrepreneur, business owner and diverse ability employer.; Shelley Gerber, CLBC Provincial Employment Coordinator; and Shelley De Coste, motivational speaker and founder of DiverseAbility, an awareness campaign. Other presenters included: representatives from Employment Standards Branch in Kelowna, CAYA-BC (Community Assistance for Youth and Adults), Neil Squire Society, Ean Price, founder/owner of ICAN Resource Group Inc.; and two panel discussions, one with WorkBC regional offices and the other with a panel of employers and employees with diverse abilities.

Feedback from the event participants was positive, and CLBC will explore if support can be provided to hold another annual conference in the future.

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