A vocational training program suited for those with an intellectual disability.

Making the commute to the office may seem like an everyday routine to many Canadians however, it is a basic human right denied to many youth and adults living with intellectual disabilities.

Statistically, the unemployment rate in Manitoba for people with intellectual disabilities is 75%. With the lack of inclusion in the workforce, these youth and adults often face numerous social barriers, endure financial stress and lack confidence in themselves.

This January, DASCH opened the doors of its new vocational training program, DASCHWorks. The goal of DASCHWorks is to support individuals with intellectual disabilities in securing successful, long-term, competitive, employment that will further promote inclusion and engagement within our community. This is done by providing participants with information about entering the workforce, pre-employment and technical skills training, as well as post-employment follow up.

What sets the DASCHWorks program apart from the other programs of its kind, is that it is able to provide each participant with similar equipment and techniques used in their career of interest.  Having the hands on skills training beforehand gives participants a competitive advantage when applying for a job.

DASCH also recognizes how employing individuals with intellectual disabilities helps businesses improve themselves. Brenda Martinussen, DASCH’s Chief Strategy and Growth Officer, says “Research has shown that there is a clear and solid business case for hiring individuals who are differently-abled. Companies see decreased staff turnover and absenteeism, improved culture and morale, a broadened customer base and increased customer loyalty. Having an inclusive workforce is not just the right thing for a company to do, it’s a smart business decision.”

This community based program encompasses four main areas:

  • Vocational assessment and profiling: Helping the individual identify their career interests.
  • Pre-employment skill development: This includes classroom training for topics that will support a successful transition into a work environment such as resume writing, interview skills, hygiene, conflict resolution, workplace relationships, communication, time management, etc.
  • Technical skill development: Using the Practical Assessment Exploration System (PAES), participants are able to get hands on training with real tools and equipment that they would use at their potential future job.
  • Community and employment support: This encompasses topics such as community observations, engagement of potential employers, tours of a variety of workplaces and jobs, supports for job searches, applications and interviews, on the job workplace assessments, and up to three months of support post the successful placement into a paid position.

Each area is modified to support participants’ individual abilities, providing the best suited training to match their needs.

“Not only do we provide individuals with the skills needed to prepare for employment such as what to expect in an interview or how to dress for success; but we also teach hands-on-skills needed to obtain their dream jobs. Some of the classes available in DASCHWorks include data entry, word processing, woods and metal projects, food services, custodial services, assembly production, tills and money management, office skills and more.”

Michelle McCreight

Manager of Specialized Support & Resource Services , DASCH

To learn more about DASCHWorks click here.