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Host Chapter: Halifax Categories: Adults

Ready, Willing & Able: National Support Service

Ready, Willing and Able (RWA) is a national partnership active in more than 20 communities across the country. RWA is designed to help employers discover the business case for inclusive employment for Autistic individuals and/or individuals who have an intellectual disability, ages 16 and older. There are approximately 500,000 working age adults who are Autistic individuals and/or have an intellectual disability. This untapped workforce can help address current labour shortages while making businesses stronger, more diverse, and more productive.


What We Do:

Labour Market Facilitators educate employers on the business benefits of employing Autistic individuals. They help businesses connect to ready-to-work pools of potential candidates in order to diversify their workforces while building stronger, more resilient, and more profitable businesses.  

 Our Ready, Willing, and Able (RWA) staff team is available for general education sessions for employers and workplaces and to meet with potential partners to outline the steps they can take to become an inclusive employer. 

Educating Employers on the Business Case for Inclusive Employment

Autism Nova Scotia is pleased to have staff devoted to educating employers on the business benefits of employing Autistic individuals, and to helping businesses connect to and develop the labour supply pipelines that diversify their workforces while building stronger, more resilient and more profitable businesses.

As a partner in the national reaching Ready, Willing and Able program, our staff have connected employers in a variety of industries and sectors to a diverse labour pool, and have facilitated dozens of hires.

Our RWA team is available for general education sessions to groups and for firm level meetings to outline the steps an employer can take to becoming a more profitable business through inclusive hiring.

What is Ready, Willing and Able?

Ready, Willing and Able (RWA) is a national partnership active in more than 20 communities across the country. RWA is designed to help employers discover the business case for inclusive employment for Autistic individuals and/or individuals who have an intellectual disability. 

In today’s hyper-competitive business environment, the difference between success and failure lies in the talent and diverse skill set of your workforce. There are approximately 500,000 working age adults who are Autistic individuals and/or individuals who have an intellectual disability. This untapped workforce can help address current labour shortages while making businesses stronger, more diverse and more productive.

Find more information regarding Ready, Willing and Able.

If you are an employer interested in inclusive employment, please contact Omar Youseff. 

Additional Information:

Autism Nova Scotia is proud to partner with Ready Willing and Able to build a more inclusive labour force that leverages the skills of Autistic individuals/individuals on the autism spectrum in our province.

Autism Nova Scotia is pleased to have team members devoted to working with job seekers on the autism spectrum, and educating employers on the business benefits of employing people with Autism, and to helping businesses connect to and develop the labour supply pipelines that diversify their workforces while building stronger, more resilient and more profitable businesses.

Employer Engagement:

As a national strategy to develop inclusive and effective labour markets, Labour Market Facilitators (also known as Employer Engagement Specialists or Employment Support Coordinators):

  • Promote understanding and awareness among employers and the public as to the business value of hiring persons on the autism spectrum (ASD) and/or with intellectual disabilities
  • Complement and enhance the capacity of community employment service delivery organizations by connecting them to new employer demand
  • Information about why hiring a person with an intellectual disability or ASD is good for business
  • Individualized assistance to help one become a more inclusive employer
  • Disability awareness information for current employees
  • Direct connections to community agencies who provide employment-related services and supports to persons with intellectual disabilities or ASD
  • Individual on-the-job support for the employee to do their job effectively, including disability related accommodations if necessary
  • Connections to other employers who have hired individuals with intellectual disabilities or ASD
  • Connections to available research, best practice and expertise in the field of inclusive labour markets

OMAR YOUSSEF (he/him)

Labour Market Facilitator (Halifax)

– Omar supports employers in the greater Halifax area –

oyoussef@autismns.ca

GARTH POTTER (he/him)

Labour Market Facilitator (Cape Breton)

– Garth supports employers in the Cape Breton region –

gpotter@autismns.ca                   

Job Seeker Support:

Autism Outreach Coordinators (AOC) are specialists who seek to connect working-age adolescents and adults on the autism spectrum (often referred to as job seekers) to community-based supports. The AOC works closely with the Labour Market Facilitator in providing support to employers in being more inclusive hirers through educational resources.

Autism Outreach Coordinators assist job seekers in obtaining and maintaining meaningful employment. They job seekers to Autism-specific supports, if available, as well as to other relevant community-based supports. The AOC adds each job seeker to a database, which adds individuals seeking supports and distributes job postings by e-mail from the Labour Market Facilitator on a regular basis.

KATELYN JUNUS (she/her)

Autism Outreach Coordinator

– Katelyn supports job seekers in the greater Halifax area. She also connects individuals across Nova Scotia to employment supports within their region of the province (South Shore, Annapolis Valley, Pictou, Truro, Cape Breton, and more) –

kjunus@autismns.ca

Do you identify as being on the autism spectrum?

Are you 16 years of age or older?

Are you looking for employment in Nova Scotia?

Through the Ready, Willing and Able program, Katelyn Junus, our Autism Outreach Coordinator can support you with navigating your path to success by connecting you to community agencies and services that:

  • provide pre-employment and employment readiness supports
  • have connections to competitive employment opportunities with businesses in a variety of industries
  • provide any additional supports or accommodations that may be needed on the job
  • refer job seekers to services that focus on mental health, life skills, and more
  • provide supports to assist job seekers with your post-secondary studies
  • connect job seekers outside of Halifax to employment supports within their region of Nova Scotia

Are you interested in connecting to employment supports and receiving job postings from inclusive employers?

  • The Compass is a short 10-minute, online questionnaire and is the first step in connecting to one of our RWA Autism Outreach Coordinators.
  • In completing The Compass, you will be asked questions about your employment, education history and your experience with employment services and supports in your community.

After completing The Compass, the Autism Outreach Coordinator will follow up with you by phone or email to arrange a time to meet (either in-person or virtually) to learn more about your support needs and work with you to connect you to post-secondary supports, employment supports and/or paid employment opportunities in your community!

If you have any questions, please contact Katelyn Junus at kjunus@autismns.ca.

Ready, Willing and Able is a partnership initiative between Inclusion Canada and the Canadian Autism Spectrum Disorder Alliance (CASDA).

    • The program is governed and managed by an executive committee and national team that we refer to as the RWA Program. RWA’s The Compass is owned by CASDA, an Ontario entity. RWA uses Simple Survey as the service provider to host The Compass questionnaire.
      • As such, personal information collected through The Compass is stored with a provider (Simple Survey) in Canada.
    • By completing The Compass questionnaire, you are acknowledging that you identify as an individual on the autism spectrum and consent to sharing this information with CASDA.
    • By completing The Compass questionnaire, you will be sharing your contact information with the RWA team and consent to being contacted by a local RWA team member.
    • By completing The Compass questionnaire, you represent and warrant to us that you are: (a) an individual seeking supports and are not completing the questionnaire on behalf of any other individual without their consent and (b) 16 years of age or older
    • All personal information collected will be retained by RWA for the duration of the initiative. Upon formal completion of the initiative, all identifying information (including your name and contact information) will be deleted or destroyed.
    • With your consent, CASDA will collect and use some of the data gathered in this brief questionnaire for research purposes.
      • In collecting this data, RWA aims to develop a better understanding of the current employment and support experiences of individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder with the ultimate goal of improving what employment supports are available and how they are delivered to individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

For more information, access the RWA Manual.

The Inclusive Workplace

The Inclusive Workplace is for people who are on the autism spectrum or have an intellectual disability. It helps them to find jobs or to work during COVID-19 and beyond. It helps companies hire good workers and build an inclusive workplace. It helps employment agencies support job seekers and employees too.

Developed in consultation with community organizations, individuals, and businesses, all of these resources are FREE.

Contact:

Omar Youssef, Labour Market Facilitator


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