The Campbell River and District Association for Community Living’s employment program has been assisting people with developmental disabilities, find meaningful employment for over 23 years. During that time the organization has connected numerous businesses in the community with reliable, committed employees. The Campbell River Mirror is pleased to be able to present the first in a series of articles profiling local businesses that have brought meaningful employment to people with developmental disabilities.
One innovative business that understands there is a natural fit for everyone in a diverse community is Quality Foods.
In 1998, 23-year-old Paul Aubuchon began work as a customer service clerk at the IGA store in Merecroft Village. When Vancouver Island owned and operated Quality foods acquired the store in 2004, he continued working with the grocery store. To this date, he has contributed over 14 years of dedicated service to his employer.
Quality Foods manager Cyriel DeBruyne said, “We never second guessed leaving Paul on. It was a good move for the company and it was a good move for the employees.”
He praises Paul’s long-term commitment by stating, “His responsibility has more than doubled since he started with us and I can truthfully say, he’s rarely been sick and has never asked to go home. He’s approximately 1 out of 3 employees, I can say that about.”
As a matter of fact, studies show 86 per cent of people with disabilities rated average or better on attendance than their non-disabled colleagues.
Statistics from the Canadian Grocery HR Council also reveal that jobs such as Aubuchon’s position as a customer service clerk tend to experience high turnover rates, primarily from losing workers the employer would prefer to keep. That said, every year that Aubuchon continues to work, he saves the grocery chain valuable resources that might otherwise be spent recruiting and training new workers. His productivity increases his employer’s profit margins by improving their bottom line and that’s good for business. Aubuchon, who used to be reserved when it comes to customer inquiries, says “I feel proud of myself and I’m happy when I help customers.”
Coincidently, having a job has also given him the equal opportunity to do so much more with his life, such as help fund his participation with the Special Olympics, where he won Canadian male athlete of the year. It is examples such as Aubuchon that truly highlight the significance of hiring people with disabilities. With smaller numbers of youth entering the workforce, there will be labor shortages as the population ages. Hiring people with disabilities can improve performance and increase retention in positions with chronic turnover. They can also be trained to do complex work, which other employees may undervalue, with pride and accountability.
To learn more about how people like Paul Aubuchon can help your business, call 250-286-0394 ex. 331. Or check out the Campbell River and District Association for Community Living’s Facebook page at CRADACL Employment or follow @cradaclemployed on Twitter.
See also: www.cghrc.ca/images/pdf/Turnover_And_Retention.pdf