We are a small team at CanAssist at the University of Victoria working to improve employment access for youth with disabilities. With provincial funding, we are working with a BC-wide network of stakeholders to develop the BC Employment Strategy for Youth with Disabilities (ESYD).
WHO IS THIS FOR?
When we say “youth with disabilities” we mean anyone between 15 and 30 who self-identifies as having a disability.
This definition captures disabilities like Autism, Down Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, hearing loss, paralysis, and brain injuries. It also captures things that are less often acknowledged as disability. Things like chronic pain, substance use challenges, and mental health challenges.
It’s no secret that youth with disabilities face barriers to finding and keeping jobs. But it’s also difficult to access appropriate employment support. This is because the availability and accessibility of employment programs vary from place to place. Different programs are available in different communities across BC. And each of these programs have different rules for who they can serve based on how they are funded. To further complicate things, most of these programs are designed for adults, who have different needs than youth.
The bottom line is that it’s hard for youth with disabilities to get the help they need to get a job and keep it. There’s opportunity to improve employment support for youth with disabilities in BC.
By creating a BC-wide strategy, we hope to make it easier for youth with disabilities to access employment support. The Strategy will:
provide the framework for a consistent approach to supporting youth-specific needs, and
highlight best practices to supporting youth with disabilities in their employment.