NLIS 15
May 9, 2002
(Human Resources and Employment)

 

Minister releases report on supported employment

Ralph Wiseman, Minister of Human Resources and Employment, today released an evaluation of his departmentís Supported Employment Initiative. Through partnerships with Human Resources Development Canada and community agencies throughout the province, supported employment provides supports necessary for individuals with a developmental disability to actively participate in the local labour market. Currently, the program is delivered through 18 community agencies located across the province. Last year the program helped over 400 individuals with a developmental disability obtain employment in their local communities.

"The Department of Human Resources and Employment is very proud of the accomplishments made by individuals through the Supported Employment Initiative," said Minister Wiseman. "This latest assessment affirms the positive impact the program has had on individuals with a developmental disability. In addition, the reportís findings will prove to be a valuable tool as we continue to develop and improve the program in the future."

The Department of Human Resources and Employment and Human Resources Development Canada both received the Summative Evaluation of the Supported Employment Initiative which was completed by the independent consulting firm Don Gallant and Associates. The intent of the evaluation was to provide commentary on the effectiveness and efficiency of the provinceís supported employment model.

The reportís findings were generally positive, applauding the work of the Supported Employment Initiative in providing employment support to persons with developmental disabilities. The report also noted the positive influence the program has had on a wide range of stakeholders, including families, employers, corporation staff, government and the wider community in promoting community inclusion and raising awareness of the capabilities of persons with a disability.

Other positive findings in the report included:

  • The Supported Employment Initiative assisted 461 clients obtain and maintain employment during the fiscal year 2000-2001; 52 of those individuals were self-employed.
  • The majority of clients held one job during 2000-2001, with most jobs (66.3 per cent) being in the sales and service sector;
  • Clients of the Supported Employment Program generated in excess of $2.5 million in total earned income during 2000-2001. The average annual salary earned was $5,727; Clients are earning more income from working (approximately $1,735) than they would be receiving if they remained entirely dependent upon income support;
  • 94 per cent of clients interviewed indicated high levels of satisfaction with their jobs;

"The Supported Employment Initiative is a great example of a productive collaboration between the federal and provincial governments and the community," said Minister Wiseman. "The initiative has enabled individuals with developmental disabilities, who would otherwise have been unable to find employment to, enter and remain in the workforce. Most importantly, participants have reported higher levels of independence, self-esteem and self-worth."

The report also identified a number of challenges that should be addressed for future development of the program. These included improved linkages with other government department such as Health and Community Services and Education that ensure clients benefit from appropriate referral and transition planning to supported employment. Other areas to be addressed include further emphasis on professional development for staff, improved leadership within government and the consideration of other kinds of job site supports and developing effective communication practices among all partners.

The report also recommended the establishment of a provincial advisory committee to address the issues and possible next steps outlined in the report. The committee would be expected to clarify program goals and objectives, as well as recommend ways to identify and disseminate best practices, strengthen program leadership and better facilitate communication among partners.

Officials from the Department of Human Resources and Employment and Human Resources Development Canada are currently reviewing the report.

Those interested in reviewing the Summative Evaluation of the Supported Employment Initiative (PDF format) can access the report on the Department of Human Resources and Employmentís web site at www.gov.nl.ca/hre or by phoning 1-800-563-6600 for a paper or alternative format copy.

Media contact: Simon Lono, Director of Communications, (709) 729-4062.

2002 05 09                            5:25 p.m.


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