Two Comox Valley businesses honoured for diverse hiring

Vancouver Island Community Connections helps adults with developmental disabilities find meaningful employment.

Tyler Barker

Vancouver Island Community Connections, a local organization that helps adults with developmental disabilities find meaningful employment, has recognized two Comox Valley businesses for their inclusive hiring practices.

Blue Toque Sports Swap and Strathcon Industries Maintenance & Repair Products have each been singled out for their “ability to see beyond disability,” strengthening both their business and the community by hiring employees of diverse abilities.

“They’re leading by example,” says VICC director Lesley Gibson. “Lots of people talk about promoting an inclusive workplace, but Blue Toque and Strathcon are doing it.”

Brad Haugan, owner of Strathcon Industries, recently hired 20-year-old Tyler Barker through VICC’s Community Employment Program, which matches pre-screened employees with employers that have suitable job vacancies. Initially hired on a trial basis as a “parts-picker,” Barker quickly established himself as a valuable member of the Strathcon team, working with a high degree of organization and accuracy.

“If you don’t take the chance, you never know how it’s going to work out,” says Haugan. “Regardless of one’s education, experience or ability, parts-picking is a demanding job that lots of people haven’t been able to master. I’d really encourage business owners to try the VICC program.”

Barker splits his work time between Strathcon and Blue Toque, whose owners Paul and Salinas LaPerriere also hired him to cover one shift a week. Echoing Haugan’s praise, they say Barker has been a great asset, helping them open in the morning, organize the shop’s massive inventory and generally keep things flowing at a steady pace.

“This is a situation where everybody wins,” says Paul. “It works for us because we got a great new employee, it’s great for Tyler because he found a job and a schedule he enjoys, and it’s good for the community because maybe it will help eliminate some of the stigma that still exists. It was totally worth getting involved.”

VICC’s Community Employment Service customizes jobs to match the needs of employee and employer. Once a position is created, an employment specialist provides on-the-job training at no cost to the employer, which Gibson says has been one of the keys to the program’s success.

“Any employer knows that hiring and training can be two of the most frustrating parts of running a business,” she says. “We take that frustration out of the equation.”

For more information, contact a VICC employment specialist at viccemployment@gmail.com or 250-338-7201.

Just Posted

Courtenay family looking for help after baby born two months premature

A GoFundMe page has been set up as a difficult pregnancy and a long stay in Victoria have left the family struggling to get by

Land & Sea Brewing Company opens its doors in Comox

Managing director says the brewery will be a compliment to the Valley’s craft beer scene

Two Courtenay Habitat for Humanity families receive keys to new homes

Lake Trail Road project officially has residents

Preparations ongoing for Courtenay’s annual Earl Naswell Community Christmas Dinner

The doors of the Florence Filberg Centre, downtown Courtenay, will open again… Continue reading

Valley woman found guilty on three charges following 2016 collision in Courtenay

The woman involved in a trial for a multi-vehicle collision in which… Continue reading

REPLAY: B.C’s best video this week

In case you missed it, here’s a look at the replay-worth highlights from this week across the province

Canucks score 3 power-play goals in 4-2 win over Oilers

Vancouver sniper Boeser has 6 goals in last 5 games

Microscopic parasite found in Prince Rupert water affecting thousands

More than 12,000 residents affected by the boil water advisory issued Dec. 14

Trudeau lashes out at Conservatives over migration “misinformation”

Warning against the “dangers of populism,” Trudeau says using immigration as a wedge political issue puts Canada’s future at risk.

B.C. hockey coach creates ‘gear library’ to remove cost barrier of sport

Todd Hickling gathered donations and used gear to remove the cost barrier for kids to play hockey.

Canada’s ambassador meets with second detainee in China

Global Affairs says John McCallum, Canada’s ambassador to China, met with Spavor Sunday

‘They’re coming:’ Flying cars may appear in urban skies by 2023

Air taxis will number 15,000 and become a global market worth $32 billion by 2035

B.C. VIEWS: Andrew Wilkinson on taxes, ICBC and union changes

Opposition leader sees unpredictable year ahead in 2019

5 tips for self-care, mental wellness this holiday season

Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions urging British Columbians to prioritize self care through festive season

Most Read