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Janet Talks Jobs: MP Vandenbeld Hosts Panel

We first met MP Anita Vandenbeld at a housing forum event in November. After a recent visit from our Public Sector Employer Partnerships leader Jen Soucy and our Co-Leader Keenan Wellar  (to discuss the LiveWorkPlay federal government employment initiative) a panel spot became available for a public event at Carlingwood Library.

MP Vandenbeld asked if we might know an employed individual we had supported with work in Ottawa West-Nepean, and Janet Balcome, a long-time Bushtukah employee, stepped right up!

Janet shared key moments in her life journey (so far!) including moving to her own condominium, volunteering at music festivals, friendships, and of course her job.

When she was younger, Janet had received some feedback from systems professionals that real work with real pay might be too challenging. But Janet was very clear and stuck with it, getting help from LiveWorkPlay to connect with Bushtukah and establish herself as one of the most dedicated members of the staff team. 

“I am so glad Janet could attend and share her experience and leadership” says Jen, who enjoyed listening to the entire panel, and getting a variety of perspectives on how different agencies support employment, and how well the different models do or do not help establish jobs that represent real work for real pay. 

“I think many elected officials are most familiar with older models like sheltered workshops as a way of offering people with intellectual disabilities and/or autism a work-like experience” observed Jen. “But evidence shows these programmatic approaches tend to reduce, not increase, opportunities for authentic employment. We look forward to working with MP Vandenbeld to champion the type of proven approach that LiveWorkPlay is using in partnership with more than 150 employers, supporting some 100 jobs every year!