PosAbilities CEO says best achievement will be people who have a disability achieving full citizenship
Camille Jensen

A posAbilities employment service that is helping people find meaningful work is expected to expand to Vancouver, Richmond and North Vancouver in 2012.

PosAbilities chief executive officer Fernando Coelho says this is one of several exciting priorities the Burnaby-based organization will be focusing on in the new year.

PosAbilities’ employment services were launched in the spring of 2011, and have supported eight people in finding jobs in workplaces of their choice. The service, which includes community connectors who work with businesses to see if they have or can create a position for someone who has a disability, has been so successful that posAbilities has been asked to expand the service beyond its current operations in Burnaby and the Tri Cities area.

Fernando says people can look forward to employment services in Vancouver, Richmond and North Vancouver in the next six to eight months.

In addition to a focus on employment, Fernando says posAbilities will be exploring how it can support both an aging and younger population in 2012.

Meeting the needs of an older population will require new housing and support options that take into account additional care needs.

On the other side of the spectrum, Fernando says younger people who have grown up going to school with their peers will be transitioning into adult services, and will be expecting more opportunities, including employment options.

“The young adults today who are seeking support from the Community Living sector have a lot more expectations than what the Community Living sector  has been able to offer,” says Fernando.

Fernando Coelho

“We’ve been building on abilities for the last 30 years wherein we’ve integrated individuals with disabilities into the typical school system, so the expectations are very different and the abilities are very different.”

In order to enhance these priority areas, Fernando says posAbilities will continue cultivating a culture of openness and change, and he commends staff for their dedication. He adds it will also be essential to collaborate and partner with other organizations, including businesses, and other Community Living agencies.

By focusing on these key areas, Fernando says he expects to see the profile of Community Living increase, as more people understand individuals with an intellectual disability are and can be full participating citizens, with much to contribute.

“I think some of the work that we are embarking on and where we are pushing boundaries will allow us, not only as an organization but as a sector, to work on our collective missions, which is to integrate individuals into community as full citizens,” he says.

Related Story:
Teamwork, openness to change made 2011 successful year, says CEO

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