This three-year collaborative and innovative initiative is designed to meet the dual objectives of supporting the workforce needs of BC businesses and improving employment outcomes for people with disabilities. The pilot will apply a business ‘demand-based’ approach, using a recruitment model to work directly with BC employers in specific industry sectors with high employment demand to match them with candidates who have the qualities, skillset, career interest and capabilities to do the job. The recruitment activities will be performed by a Recruitment Specialist, who will work on behalf of employers to interface with partnering employment agencies to recruit suitable candidates. The Specialist will continue to monitor each employment relationship to ensure that it is successful for all parties, interfacing between the employer, employee and agency to determine if any further supports are required.
As a pilot, this project is designed to provide important insights into establishing innovative partnerships between employers and disability serving agencies to facilitate the employment of people with disabilities in BC.
Connecting Employment Demand with Workforce Supply
From now to beyond 2020, major recruitment across the province driven, by attrition, business growth and expansion, is anticipated to make it harder for BC employers to find good people. Service and resource sectors are both widely recognized as facing significant workforce and skills shortages.
People with disabilities represent a traditionally untapped resource pool of potential candidates, representing approximately 400,000 people in BC with a self-disclosed disability, of whom many are ready for employment with no to minimal workforce preparation.
The project team recognizes the opportunity to better connect employment demand with this workforce supply, helping to make it easier for employers to engage these job seekers and gain a strategic business advantage by being more inclusive.
Key Features of the Pilot
The project began by identifying employment demand and opportunities in key sectors, then gauged interest from prospective employers that are well-positioned to lead by example and hire people with disabilities. Starting first with engaged employers in the Lower Mainland service and resource sectors, a Recruitment Specialist will work with these employers and a network of local disability employment service agencies to streamline the recruitment process and make it easier to connect businesses to qualified, job ready candidates with diverse abilities (disabilities) and unique skillsets.
In addition to working with a small group of industry leaders, the project partnership will rely on leadership and input from the project team and representatives of local WorkBC Centres and other employment service agencies, coordinating and collaborating with other disability inclusion efforts currently underway in BC.
Through this process, recruitment can be targeted and customized to meet specific shortages in high demand/high turnover entry level occupations – or connects qualified job seekers to available positions in participating organizations, including administrative, professional, technical, managerial or executive level positions. The goal is to start with a small group of select employers, capture/share successes and lessons learned, then expand over the subsequent years to other employers and/or sectors in BC.
The pilot features an evaluation that will examine its benefits to employers, service agencies and other stakeholders as well as its potential impact on the outcomes of job seekers with disabilities. It will also document the process and partnerships between employers and service agencies to design and implement the model in order to inform future development.
Benefit to Employers
The project supports a business-centred approach, whereby referrals are made by a Recruitment Specialist who understands the unique needs of each business. We anticipate that this will benefit participating employers in the following ways:
- Recruitment is driven by employer needs
- Candidates are pre-screened and referred only if they are well-suited, have the right skillset and are a good match for the organizational culture
- The Recruitment Specialist will work with the company’s hiring team to strategically tap into the talent and contributions of people with diverse abilities in BC
- The Recruitment Specialist making candidate referrals will have established employer relationships as well as knowledge and expertise in the field/sector;
- The hiring process is simplified through a centralized connection point with multiple service agencies, providing a ready-to-hire pool of pre-screened candidates
- The pilot can access potential training resources and/or develop customized training opportunities linked to industry specific essential skills
- The pilot will mitigate risks to employers associated with accommodating people with disabilities through supports and expertise provided by an extensive network of professionals across the province
The project is being led by the CfEE in partnership with the following members of the Employment Action Committee:
- Community Living BC
- Open Door Group
- Neil Squire Society
- Burnaby Association for Community Inclusion (representing the BC Employment Network)
- Flaherty and Associates
- MacLeod Silver HR Business Partners
To learn more about the project and to explore current employment opportunities with our employer partners, please visit the project website at www.bcpartnerswin.org.
The pilot is being funded by the Government of Canada and the Province of British Columbia through the Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation’s Research and Innovation Fund.
The research team has been documenting the history, design, development, successes and areas for growth of the pilot. Click here to read more about the project’s inception, development and findings from its first year of operations.
For queries about this project or other research activities being undertaken by the BC Centre for Employment Excellence, please contact Shawn de Raaf, CfEE Research Coordinator.