When Michelle Dulmadge, Director of Operational Human Resources and Administrative Services at AltaGas Ltd. in Calgary, Alberta, was approached about inclusive hiring with Ready, Willing and Able (RWA), she wanted to ensure that the role they would provide would be both a meaningful experience and important to the company.
“It’s not about creating a job – it’s about assigning meaningful work that already exists,” says Dulmadge. Dulmadge was connected to RWA through partner organization, Inclusion Alberta, where she met Stephen. “Stephen was enthusiastic, prepared and excited to contribute to our team,” shares Dulmadge.
Dulmadge and the AltaGas team planned for Stephen’s role as Ambassador of Office Amenities to be a pilot project, to ensure that having him would be a good fit. One year later, Stephen has been hired on full-time and enjoys every minute of it. “Stephen takes his work very seriously, is extremely proud about the work that he does and adds value everyday.”
In Stephen’s role, tasks include maintaining supply stock, file room and kitchen clean up and meeting set up. Dulmadge explains that without Stephen, office efficiency wouldn’t be running as well as it is now, “you not only will have someone who does great work, but someone who will become integral to your workforce.”
According to a recent survey conducted by the Centre for Inclusion and Citizenship at the University of British Columbia, employers who hire through RWA rate their employees with an intellectual disability or ASD as well as or better than the average employee in regards to attitude towards their work (94%); getting along with coworkers (96%) and contributing to positive workplace morale and spirit (96%). At times, businesses don’t realize these advantages; RWA works to bridge this gap and increase labour force participation of people with an intellectual disability or Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
RWA assisted Dulmadge in ensuring that Stephen would be able to adapt his skills to his assigned duties. Along with interview advice and direct onsite support from Inclusion Alberta, Stephen was also connected with Paul, a fellow AltaGas employee who supported Stephen as a mentor by providing feedback that helped make the onboarding process easier.
“Stephen sets a high standard for himself. It not only helps him complete his work efficiently, but it also holds the rest of our staff to the same level of accountability in their work,” says Dulmadge.
Dulmadge was pleasantly surprised with the significant positive impact that Stephen has had on their team and looks forward to continuing to work with RWA in the future, “I absolutely encourage other employers to consider taking advantage of this untapped resource.”
“Stephen has been absolutely delightful and such a positive addition to our team and overall morale,” shares Dulmadge. “With a willing smile and a handshake for everyone, it’s impossible to not be in a good mood when you’re around Stephen.”
Funded by the Government of Canada and active in 20 communities across the country, RWA is a national partnership of the Canadian Association for Community Living (CACL), the Canadian Autism Spectrum Disorders Alliance (CASDA) and their member organizations.
If you’re interested in learning more about inclusive hiring, contact us today.