What is the project?
The pilot project developed and evaluated the use of an online mapping tool to enable individuals with disabilities, their families, employers and service providers to share and learn about the positive employment experiences of individuals with developmental disabilities (self advocates) in BC.
The project was designed to answer the following questions:
- What factors support and contribute to positive, inclusive employment for self advocates in BC?
- How are service providers able to support self advocates in finding and keeping employment that is paid, positive, and inclusive?
- How can employers create an accessible and inclusive work place for individuals with developmental disabilities?
Who will use the website?
While the broader developmental disability community is encouraged to use the map to share positive experiences with inclusive employment, the research component of the pilot involved the collection of stories from self advocates, employers, support workers, and family members from across BC. Examples of experiences with inclusive employment practices can include:
- Self-advocates sharing the key factors that have contributed to their positive work experience;.
- Employers sharing how they have created a positive and inclusive work environment;
- Employment service providers and support workers sharing the kinds of supports and services that help self advocates find and keep a good job;
- Family members discussing the ways their family member was able to find and keep a good job and what makes it a positive work experience.
How was the information collected and shared?
The stories of inclusive employment experiences were collected and shared through an online mapping interface to increase knowledge and understanding and to promote the development of further inclusive employment opportunities for people with developmental disabilities. As a tool to share personal experiences, best practices, and links to resources and supports, the website is designed to engage, inform and inspire self-advocates as well as their families, service providers and potential employers.
How did the pilot project unfold?
The project had three phases.
Phase 1 [December 2013 – August 2014]
Development of the online mapping tool in collaboration with self-advocates to design its look and usability.
Phase 2 [September 2014 – March 2015]
Piloting the website with 30 – 35 self-advocates who are recruited through service agencies in different regions of British Columbia. The CfEE also actively engaged stakeholders to upload successful and inclusive employment stories on the map to increase awareness and usage of this resource in the developmental disability community.
Phase 3 [April 2015 – September 2015]
The research team analyzed the stories shared through the website and published their findings here.
The team is pleased to announce that it has formed a partnership with the HOME Society to support the growth and continuation of the website as a resource for individuals with developmental disabilities, their family members, employers, service providers, and policy makers to learn and to share examples of innovation in the area of employment.
The team is also exploring opportunities to extend this approach to other populations of interest.
Who is Leading the Project?
The project represents a partnership between the CfEE, the UBC Centre for Inclusion and Citizenship, and the SpICE Lab at UBC Okanagan. The pilot has received financial support from Community Living British Columbia, the Government of Canada, and the Province of British Columbia through the Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation’s Research and Innovation Fund.
For queries about this project or other research activities being undertaken by the BC Centre for Employment Excellence, please contact Shawn de Raaf, the CfEE Research Coordinator.