It was in November of 1996 when the West Montreal Readaptation Centre called the human resources department at Concordia University and asked to set up a program that helps mentally disabled adults cope in a workforce environment. Integration agent Janice Jarvis was sent in to help develop the program and coordinate people to work within various campus departments. The program currently has up to 11 clients that work at both the Loyola and Sir George Williams Campuses.
The program offers a real workplace situation in which mentally disabled clients can work as volunteers in order to make use of the skills and aptitudes they possess. For people to be eligible to join the program they have to be at least 21 years of age and have a disability either psychiatric, physical or mental.
“I basically ask a department if they need any help and try to match a client to the kind of work required,” said Jarvis. “The jobs are mostly voluntary as there might not be enough hours to constitute a true work week, or that the speed at which clients work might be at a slower pace.”
“We have a waiting list of clients who want to work so we’re frequently looking for new opportunities to place people in,” said integration agent Kim Billette, who works to facilitate the program’s needs. Stephen Bailey, Wayne Mitchell and Jean-Fran