Ready, Willing and Able
What is it?
This national initiative is a project of the Canadian Association for Community Living (CACL), in partnership the Canadian Autism Spectrum Disorders Alliance (CASDA).
The vision that guides the project is to build “an inclusive and effective labour market, with an employment rate for people with intellectual disabilities and autism spectrum disorders on par with the national average”.
The three-year project (September 2014 to August 2017) is designed to increase employment opportunities of people with intellectual disabilities and ASD.
The RWA project is funded by the Government of Canada and is active in 20 communities throughout the country.
St. John’s Metro area, NL Winnipeg, MB
Halifax Municipality, NS Saskatoon, SK
Queen’s County area, PEI Prince Albert, SK
Fredericton, NB Calgary, AB
Saint John, NB Edmonton, AB
Montreal, QC Prince George, BC
City of Quebec, QC Vancouver, BC
Toronto Region (GTA), ON Whitehorse, YK
City of Toronto, ON Iqaluit, NU
Brandon, MB Yellowknife, NWTWhat does it do?
The primary focus of RWA is to reach out to employers. Once employers have been engaged and have committed to hiring people with intellectual disabilities and ASD, this potential job opportunity is then aligned with an employment agency in the local community. The project hopes to achieve approximately 1200 jobs during its three years.
RWA is designed to:
- Engage, connect and support three key groups - 1. employers, 2. people with intellectual disabilities and ASD, and 3. community agencies - at three interconnected levels - local, provincial/territorial, and national.
- Promote understanding and awareness among employers and the general public as to the value of hiring people with intellectual disabilities and ASD.
- Enhance the capacity of employment service providers to refer people with intellectual disabilities and ASD to employers and help them transition into employment.
In addition to creating increased employer demand, RWA will also focus on the areas of transitional planning, entrepreneurship, inclusive post secondary educational opportunities, and strengthening employer-to-employer networks. These efforts will be led by RWA in partnership with a variety of community agencies.
How does it work?
The program will be delivered by Labour Market Facilitators (LMFs), located in each province and territory, and 4 Regional Autism Coordinators (RACs) who have responsibility across the 20 communities. To find out if you or a family member can take advantage of this initiative, contact the RWA staff in your area. Contact information of RWA staff in your province can be found at http://readywillingable.ca/about/rwa-communities-and-delivery-staff-3/
RWA works in partnership with selected local employment agencies to ensure that individuals with intellectual disabilities and ASD can take full advantage of job opportunities identified. Where necessary, the project will also provide funds to enable the provision of necessary on the job supports that might be required by individuals as they transition to their new employment.
We know there are more than 500,000 working age Canadians with intellectual disabilities and ASD who are ‘ready, willing and able’ to enter the workforce. With an employment rate of only about 25%, they form a significant untapped labour pool. With effective support and increased employer demand they can join the workforce at rates similar to their peers. RWA is premised on a belief that employers cannot afford to overlook this untapped workforce. Ready, Willing and Able positions Canada as the international leader in development of labour markets that include those who are currently most overlooked and under-represented.
For More Information Contact:
Don Gallant, National Director, Ready, Willing & Able
Phone: (709) 437-1504