First Choice Employment began working with Andrew by assisting him to secure a volunteer opportunity to practice skills he already had, but also the opportunity to develop new skills. During his volunteer time at the Vancouver Elks Lodge, First Choice Employment was able to assess Andrews abilities and barriers to determine if Andrew was job ready, and if the dishwashing job he was performing would be a good fit for him. The Vancouver Elks Lodge really admired Andrew’s commitment to a job well done. They communicated that they would love to offer Andrew a job but were unsure if they had an open position for him. After several weeks, the Vancouver Elks Lodge called Andrew and offered him a part time position as a Dishwasher. Andrew was thrilled and eager to begin working, however, there were some barriers that we needed to address prior to Andrew starting work.
Two primary barriers to employment for Andrew presented. The primary barrier was transportation. Andrew did not know how to utilize the bus system. First Choice Employment set Andrew up with a C-Tran travel trainer. Unfortunately, Andrew lived in an area where a 10-minute drive straight down 112th Ave, would take him almost 2 hours on the bus to get to work. At this point we reached out to the Human Services Council and got Andrew enrolled in their Bike to Work program. Andrew received a donated, re-furbished bicycle at no cost to him. Andrew attended a bicycle maintenance and safety training class where he was provided a lock, light, repair kit, and safety gear. Upon completion of his class, First Choice Employment mapped out the safest route for Andrew to ride his bike to work and rode bikes together with Andrew until he learned the route. Andrew now rides his bike to and from work independently, and it takes him only 15-20 minutes to get there.
Another barrier to employment for Andrew was remembering his schedule, clock in/out code and job codes. First Choice Employment provided a pocket planner for Andrew to keep record of his schedule as well as code numbers for the POS system at the Elks. We worked with Andrew initially at each shift and taught him how use the POS system to clock in/out for his shifts and to enter the proper code according to the duties he was performing. We worked with him consistently to form this habit. Since working with Andrew on this, he has had no issues keeping his schedule or clocking in/out.
Andrew has been a great asset to the Vancouver Elks Lodge kitchen team. He has maintained employment with the Elks since Dec. 2015. He continues to employ a sense of pride with being a productive member of his community. He has gained independence with his new mode of transportation and is grateful for the opportunities that employment has given him.The details for each individual may vary, but people with disabilities are capable of working. In our experience as an agency, individuals with disabilities are among the most dependable, most dedicated, satisfied employees who take pride in the job they do and are very appreciative for the opportunity to work and earn competitive wages.
"First Choice Employment Services is a group of agents who truly care and who want you to succeed and who will each personally strive for your success and work with and for you throughout the entire employment process, even giving you hands on field experience to ensure that you learn how to get a job that works for you and whatever disabilities you may have. They also know how to work with whatever disabilities you may have, and regardless of how long it may take, they will remain committed to ensuring your success and will celebrate it with you when you achieve it. I learned so much about the employment process and gained so much confidence working with them and now I finally have a job that I feel comfortable and confident in. Just show up and put in the effort and they will help to ensure your success, you'll be glad you chose them."
-Bryttanie E., Customer