Learners at a computer

Learners with developmental disabilities get job readiness training

Corbrook Awakening Abilities is a non-profit, charitable organization that provides support to adults and youth with developmental disabilities in Toronto and York Region. Mellissa Prince is the organization’s Job Coach in East Scarborough, and her role is to provide those who want access to employment with pre-employment training and one-to-one support.

Prince runs weekly workshops on various topics to help her clients gain job readiness skills. Learners attend four to six weeks of training to become workplace-ready before being placed in a job. Workshop topics consist of everything from resume-writing to job retention to managing stress at work.

Prince was riding the subway one day when she saw an ad for UP Skills for Work: Get Started. UP Skills for Work is a free literacy program that helps learners develop key employability and life skills through free workshops and downloadable workbooks. The new Get Started series features adapted content that is written and designed specifically for adult learners at a grade 2-4 reading level.

Prince felt that UP Skills for Work offered workshop topics that would be relevant to her clients, and that the Get Started series curriculum best matched the reading level of their clients. She worked with ABC Life Literacy Canada to run four UP Skills for Work: Get Started workshops on the topics of adaptability, communication, collaboration and digital. Workshops were held virtually once per week for four weeks.

Prince loved that the workshop curriculum was not only already created, but that a facilitator from ABC Life Literacy Canada helped to deliver the program free of charge. She felt it was a major support in today’s society for people within this community.

“I am typically responsible for doing all the research and creating the lesson plan and presentation, so it was really helpful because I didn’t have to make all of the content from scratch. It was already there.”

While Prince sometimes supports the facilitation of the workshops, they are usually run by one of her colleagues, so having a facilitator who was well-versed in the program content was a bonus.

“The facilitator was amazing and they paid attention to the learning and disability level of each of our participants. This helped to make it more understandable for them and they were also great at making the experience interactive.”

Corbrook Awakening Abilities services are open to anybody who needs employment support, however they typically work with those on disability support.

To learn more about UP Skills for Work, download free resources, or to host a workshop, visit upskillsforwork.ca.