HireAbility conference and job fair set for UBC Okanagan Mar. 11

Employing people with disabilities in the Central Okanagan is the focus of a major public awareness-building event at UBC Okanagan on March 11. The second-annual hireAbility Conference goes from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Gymnasium at UBC Okanagan, 3333 University Way, Kelowna.

It’s a collaborative effort between a number of organizations and agencies, including the District of Lake Country (which hosted the conference last year), City of Kelowna, and UBC Okanagan’s offices of Alumni and Community Relations, Career Services, Diversity, and Human Rights and Equity Services.

“This event is very exciting,” says Jess Roebuck, Disability Resource Centre Coordinator at UBC Okanagan. “To provide an opportunity for both employers and persons with disabilities to discuss current employment barriers and possible solutions is significant for this untapped, willing and able workforce."

Keynote speakers at 10 a.m. are Sonja Gaudet and Gerry Austgarde, members of Canada’s gold-medal-winning Paralympic curling team. James Macaulay of Access to Employment will moderate an 11 a.m. panel discussion, Work Spaces that Work, featuring disability service providers and the resources available to employers and employees.

A 1:30 p.m. panel discussion, Voice of Experience, will feature employees with disabilities, their employers, and successes and challenges in the workplace. This is followed at 2:30 p.m. by group discussion of the subject before closing remarks at 2:50 p.m.

HireAbility is, in part, a response to the B.C. Government's 10x10 Challenge which calls for a 10 per cent increase in employment for people with disabilities by 2010. For information about the hireAbility Conference, contact Jess Roebuck, Coordinator of UBC Okanagan’s Disability Resource Centre, at 250-807-9263. The conference website is: www.ubc.ca/okanagan/publicaffairs/hireability.html.

UBC Okanagan’s Career Services is also hosting its 2008 Job Fair in the gymnasium from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on March 11.

“The Job Fair is all about making hiring connections,” says Shawn Swallow, Director of Career Services. “This year, with our Job Fair and the hireAbility Conference taking place simultaneously, we’re also connecting employers -- and the public -- with important information about employing people with disabilities.”

This year’s platinum sponsor is Sysco Food Services of Kelowna. Gold sponsors are the Certified General Accountants of B.C., the Chartered Accountants of B.C., Mission Hill Family Estate, and Alberta’s Peace Country Health.

More than 30 other employers are also exhibiting at the 2008 Job Fair. For information, contact Shawn Swallow at 250-807-9233.

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