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260 Canadians with Disabilities Employed through Working Together Program in Less than a Year

BURNABY, BRITISH COLUMBIA -- (Marketwired) -- 08/11/14 -- 262 Canadians with disabilities have gained employment under the Working Together Program, Neil Squire Society's wage subsidy employment program for people with disabilities. The Society was awarded a large national contract from the Government of Canada's Opportunities Fund for Persons with Disabilities in August, 2013 for the Working Together Program.

The Working Together Program provides employers with up to $30,000 to pay the wages of a person with a disability for a minimum of six months and a maximum of one year, and consistent support from the Neil Squire Society. When needed, the necessary worksite adaptations will be provided to help accommodate any needs of the new employee. Working Together works directly with local employers, building awareness of the business case in hiring people with disabilities.

Alfiya, an amputee since the age of twelve when she was diagnosed with bone cancer, is one of the Working Together Program's recent successes. Alfiya came to Vancouver after several years of studying in the United States. Her journey to find employment was not an easy one. "My status as a non-citizen, a newcomer, and a person with a disability made the task even more challenging. It seemed that there is something more to my Master's degree, experience working in the university and an advocacy organization that I was missing," says Alfiya. When Alfiya entered the Working Together Program she was encouraged to take not just any job, but the job she would feel passionate about. That passion came in the form of Service Programs Administrative Coordinator at Spinal Cord Injury BC, where she has the opportunity to work on a broad range of administrative, outcomes and reporting, and event-based activities.

Neale had over forty years of experience in the forestry industry when he entered the Working Together Program in New Brunswick. He had worked as a skidder operator, a wood cutter, and a feller, but he had been out of work for the past 5 years due to carpal tunnel syndrome, a shoulder injury, and osteoarthritis in his hips. With the help of the Working Together Program, Neale accepted a position with a local forestry operation. Although his new position is quite different from the hands on work he is accustom to, he is very excited to have the opportunity to continue using the knowledge and skills he has acquired over the last forty years.

The Working Together Program educates employers about the importance of hiring people with disabilities, and dispels myths while creating a diverse workforce. The majority of people with disabilities have some post-secondary education; they stay with their employers longer than most employees; and take less sick time. By connecting candidates with the appropriate skill set to employers, an inclusive workforce is created. "Ultimately, we do not need to overcome our disability; we need to learn to accept this experience in all areas of our life, including employment," says Alfiya.

To date the Neil Squire Society has served 503 clients with disabilities through the Working Together Program since it was launched, of which 262 have obtained employment opportunities while many more are in the process of securing their opportunities in the workforce.

For more information on the wage subsidy program called Working Together, please visit the Neil Squire Society website, www.neilsquire.ca.

The Working Together Program is funded by the Government of Canada's Opportunities Fund for Persons with Disabilities

About Neil Squire Society

Neil Squire Society is the only not-for-profit organization in Canada that for the past 30 years has used technology, knowledge and passion to empower Canadians with physical disabilities. The Society has developed innovative programs and services and some of the world's leading edge assistive technology for people with physical disabilities. More than 30,000 people with disabilities in Canada have benefited from the work of the Society. With about fifty staff, Neil Squire Society has offices and provides services to Canadians in Vancouver, Regina, Ottawa, and Fredericton, as well as to many small communities across Canada via distance education.

To view accompanying photos, visit the following links:

Photo of Alfiya: http://media3.marketwire.com/docs/Alfiya.jpg

Photo of Neale: http://media3.marketwire.com/docs/Neale.jpg

Distribution of this press release was generously donated by Marketwired.

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