Economic inclusion through stories of employment program successes


Focusing on a pillar of BACI’s strategic plan
Monday May 2, 2011 — Kristian Partington

One of the main pillars of the Burnaby Association for Community Inclusion’s (BACI) five-year strategic plan is the concept of social and economic inclusion, and many successes centred on this theme have been evident in recent months.

As an example the excitement in employment services manager Steve Withrington’s voice was palpable when he talked about a job fair this spring where six participants from Employment Program 10 attended a job fair this spring.

Meaningful opportunities for potential employment arose that day when two interviews were booked.

He was excited by the prospect of employment, yes, but what he noted at the time as inspiring was the way potential employer interacted with the hopeful job-seekers.

The employer approached the interview from a “person-centred perspective, which was terrific,” he says

Economic inclusion becomes possible “if business managers and potential employers are very much aware of that process to get to know the individual, the people, and what they can bring to the job,” he says.

The wide range of doors that open for people with developmental disabilities when they experience the hope of economic inclusion through employment training is evident in Thomas’ story, as well.

Thomas is a young man Steve says was affected by the person-centred approach of the employment programs at BACI — he went from showing few signs of ambition when Steve first met him to aiming for graduation from a light warehouse employment and training program.

The experience with Thomas helped the employment services team focus on what they can do better to strengthen training opportunities.

“My hope is that over the next 18 months to three years, not only as a service within an organization, but as an organization, we become more proficient at that (support), and we will be able to get it right more often and see similar successes,” Steve says.

We’re looking for stories of employment success and feeling of social and economic inclusion. If you have a story to share, please contact 800-294-0051, ext. 24, or e-mail kristian(at)

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