Two central tenants of developing a thriving local economy are inclusiveness and the long-term employment of residents. Ensuring that all individuals have access to meaningful work and can participate in their local economy and in their community are key components in any community economic development work. During October, the Calgary Employment First Network (CEFN) and local human services provider Prospect will be delivering an inspiring example of these initiatives with their Disability Employment Awareness Month activities.
2016 will mark the second year CEFN has celebrated DEAM in Calgary. Alexi Davis from Prospect said this year a “huge strategy was around increasing employer engagement. Disability employment doesn’t happen without employers.” The goal is to create discussion around disability employment; blowing up myths, creating conversation, and highlighting employers in Calgary who are already fostering and supporting an inclusive workforce. Events will include round table discussions, award galas, employer profiling, and film festivals, plus great ways for individuals and organizations to engage their own networks.
Even if you are not an employer, Davis encourages everyone to get involved in this month and in the conversation. “Consumers are more and more community-minded, ” which in turn creates a larger demand for inclusiveness and diversity from businesses.
So, how can you participate in the discussion during Disability Employment Awareness Month? This year, CEFN has partnered with some amazing local organization to provide public events to support, encourage, and foster conversation. Davis said “this year, it’s about awareness. So anyone who connects to the idea of disability and employment for whatever reason, we want them to be part of the conversation.”
DEAM Proclamation 2016
The official launch of DEAM 2016 will be held at City Hall and includes Mayor Nenshi’s proclamation. Join CEFN, community members, and the media as DEAM 2016 kicks off!
When: October 4 from 3:00pm to 3:30pm
Where: City Hall Atrium, 800 Macleod Trail SE
DEAM Film Fest
Bow Valley College and Picture This Film Festival have partnered to present a one-day film festival. Featuring a broad selection of local and international offerings, this event will provide a variety of perspectives on disability and employment.
When: October 19 from 10:00am to 3:00pm
Where: Bow Valley College, North Campus Main Floor, Room N124
CEFN has partnered with MRU’s Institute for Community Prosperity to highlight the Inclusive Community: Visible and Invisible Disabilites. This cocktail reception at Caffe Artigiano will feature Pecha-Kucha style story-telling with guided table discussions. With eight rapid-fire presentations, participants will be offered different lenses on employment and disability from a variety of perspectives.
When: October 20, 5:00pm – 7:00pm
Where: Caffe Artigiano, 5010 Richard Road SW
In order to highlight the benefits of disability employment, CEFN and their partners will be celebrating employers already providing #DEAMJobs in Calgary. Davis noted that “when a workforce is inclusive and diverse, it becomes more competitive and that is more representative of your customer base and your stakeholder base” which is why they’re encouraging local consumers to highlight companies and employers who are #LivingTheDEAM. Up until October 16th, individuals can nominate employers that are already championing diversity on a local level. In return, these employers will be profiled throughout the month of October and will have the opportunity to receive formal awards at the Employer Recognition Gala being held in the last week of October. You can check out the DEAM Nominated Employers and create your own submission today.
Excited to attend events? Visit the DEAM Calgary website for listings and how to participate.
Want to engage with your organization? Download the DEAM Employer Toolkit
Make sure you attend the Film Fest at Bow Valley College
Learn more about Prospect’s work in the Calgary Community