Ten years ago, Whitby resident Angela Holland was in a traumatic car accident. She suffered a brain injury and was left with permanent damage to her short-term memory. Trying to find employment after the accident was an uphill battle for Angela. Employers were often reluctant to hire her because of her disability, and after several interviews and no job to show for it, discouragement began to set in. But all of that changed for Angela when she began receiving employment supports through the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP).
With help from Northern Lights Canada, an ODSP Employment Supports Service Provider, Angela received the extra help she needed to not only get back into the workforce, but to find a position she could excel at, and an employer who recognized her potential.
“We’re one of a number of service providers in Durham Region that provide employment supports for ODSP clients,” explains Cheryl Cove, Vocational Specialist at Northern Lights. “The Manufacturing and Technology Centre (MTC) was looking to hire, and it was a really good fit for Angela.”
MTC, a local electronics refurbishment factory, agreed to take Angela on as a quality control technician. Northern Lights was by her side in the initial stages to help her learn the job and become comfortable in it, which Cheryl says was a big help for Angela, but also for MTC as well.
“One of the incentives we offer is job coaching,” Cheryl explains. “In those learning stages, employees just need someone to support them, so we offer that for the employer. We don’t just employ the client and then cut them loose.”
Angela says having that kind of assistance from Northern Lights and ODSP Employment Supports, both in the job search process and through the training, was invaluable.
“Sometimes there are roadblocks, and sometimes it’s not as easy to know exactly how to present yourself because of your disability,” Angela explains. “And that’s what they helped me with.” Today, Angela is a valued full-time MTC employee. Her supervisor, Kim Fulcher, says Angela regularly exceeds her daily quotas and is one of the most dedicated team members she has.
“Angela’s a great employee,” remarks Kim. “She does everything that is asked of her, and she goes above and beyond in every task.”
And it would seem that kind of respect for one another is mutual. Angela says Kim is a great boss, and that she’s so glad to have an employer who can see past her disability. And the effects of that, for Angela, have worked wonders on her spirit.
“The experience here has been really great for me,” she explains. “It’s boosted my confidence in myself…it makes me feel more adequate and more productive. I love it here, and I’m very happy.”