Cosmos hosts ‘Disability Employment Expo’

A unique opportunity for local employers to learn about the benefits of hiring persons with disabilities will be offered this Friday.

Cosmos Community Support Services Ltd. is hosting the Disability Employment Expo this Friday from 1 to 4 p.m. Guest speakers include Mary Anne Jablonski, MLA for Red Deer North and City councilor Tara Veer. Besides a number of information sessions, there will also be a presentation by Stephen Wright, employment resource coordinator and closing remarks by Lynda Olson, executive director of Cosmos.

The goal is to get the word out about how much of a benefit it can be to local employers to hire persons with disabilities. “We want to open the eyes of more business people to the possibilities of hiring people with disabilities,” said Debra Kettle program coordinator for employment access at Cosmos, which is an accredited not-for-profit agency that was established in 1972.

Employment Access is a division of Cosmos Community Support Services Ltd.

Many of the clients at Cosmos are looking for jobs that offer hours ranging from three to nine each week. The difference these kinds of opportunities make in their lives is absolutely remarkable, she said.

“They want to be part of an organization,” she said. “There is also a lot of potential there. It’s not just a benefit for the employee and an employer, but the community as well.”

Cosmos Community Support Services Ltd. supports individuals living with mental illness, learning disabilities, brain injury, developmental disabilities, physical disabilities, and sensory impairments.

At Friday’s event, Kettles said that about seven tables will be set up where employers who have persons with disabilities on staff will be able to share their experiences with employers checking out the possibilities for the first time.

For employers willing to bring a client on staff, Kettles said a Cosmos worker would accompany them to their new opportunity for a while to ensure everything goes smoothly.

Employment Access at Cosmos provides a range of services to individuals who require assistance in gaining and maintaining employment and/or training to develop specialized skills. Some services available include resume development, employer expectation workshops, interview skills and other interactive workshops that can help in an individual’s employment.

Employment Access also offers a non-paid work experience trial to employers. This non-paid work experience is an opportunity for an individual to gain employment skills and for the employer to determine if this is the right fit.

Once paid employment occurs, Employment Access provides On The Job Training and continuous support to the individual with the goal for independence.

Employers can be reassured that training is provided through the program at no cost to them and will fade out only when both parties are comfortable.

Cosmos is located at 7428 – 49 Ave. For more information, call 403-341-2363.

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