The Government of Alberta has announced $10 million in funding to help Albertans with disabilities access employment supports.

The funding has been distributed to 10 organizations across the province, who had an opportunity to submit proposals last year.

Among them is Inclusion Foothills, who have been given $483,500 for their three-year Employment Partnerships Project, which provides support to businesses who are making an effort to hire with inclusion in mind.

Foothills Executive Director Orvella Small says they're continuing to support individuals with disabilities who are looking for work, but supporting inclusive employers is also vital.

"It fits in real nicely with our employment projects that we've been doing in the past, which is supporting individuals to be able to have real work for real pay. The opportunity then came to provide some dedicated support to businesses, encouraging them to become inclusive employers and hire people with disabilities, and then support them through that process. There are lots of fallacies out there that businesses still live with, and sometimes there's just that uncertainty, so we wanted to be able to provide that support to businesses, which is what the Inclusive Employment Partnerships Project is about."

She says the goal of the program is to make inclusive hiring a norm that all employers are familiar with and comfortable with.

"There are many businesses out there who are doing it and don't even realize they're doing it, it's just natural for them. But doesn't always come naturally for everybody else to think about what they could do in hiring a person with a disability. Any disability, whether it's visible or invisible. To be able to support that individual in the workplace is a very positive thing."

Inclusion Foothills' programming is funded by a mix of federal and provincial funding, grants, and fundraising.

Small says having dedicated funding for this program will go a long way.

"It's not common, I'd say, to provide funding to support businesses in particular. Yes, we want people with disabilities to have jobs, but in order to do that we also have to support businesses to be comfortable in their work, to be able to figure out how they can do those things, how they can maybe job share or find ways to have more than one person hired to split the time, whatever the case may be. It's working with those businesses to be able to make their experience positive."

The province listed the full $10 million funding allocations in a media release:

  • Prospect Human Services - $873,255
  • Vecova - $672,590
  • Gateway Association - $1,117,926
  • Centre for Newcomers - $1,117,926
  • WCG Services - $2,146,289
  • Calgary Catholic Immigration Society - $703,854
  • Goodwill Opportunity Accelerator Program - $1,609,490
  • Goodwill Industries - $1 million
  • CBI - $1,050,800
  • Inclusion Foothills Association - $483,500

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