The Galaxy Cinema in North Bay, Ontario is a hotspot year-round. But it’s not just great movies that people keep coming back to see … staff there are convinced it has something to do with one extra-personable employee named Michael Culham.
“I have people coming in regularly and asking me ‘where’s Michael?’,” says Terry Eagles, General Manager of the cinema. “Their experience was so phenomenal, they come back over and over just to see him.”
Terry says that’s due to Michael’s positive attitude and contagious smile. Michael, who has a developmental disability, has worked at Galaxy for more than six years. He’s responsible for greeting customers and taking their tickets, solving any issues that they might have, and checking the quality of the sound and picture in the auditoriums.
Terry originally needed an employee who could enhance the customer experience, and so he contacted local Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) employment supports service provider Yes Employment to assist him.
“Macrina met with me, got a feel for the business and what I needed out of an employee,” explains Terry. “A couple of days later Michael came in for an interview, and the rest is history.”
“We offered a lot of support in terms of monitoring,” explains Macrina Perron, employment counsellor at Yes Employment. “I was in regular contact with Terry to see how things were going, to see if there was anything we could do to support.”
Terry says the assistance he received from Macrina in finding a qualified candidate, hiring and training Michael, along with the regular check-ins after Michael started working, was outstanding. So outstanding in fact, that he has used Yes Employment several times since to hire new employees. Terry highly recommends an ODSP employment supports service provider to other employers looking to hire.
“If you haven’t experienced the program or tried hiring someone with special needs or disabilities,” he says, “you and your customers are missing out. You’re going to get support with training; if there are any other issues, the support is always there and they’re just one phone call away.”
And Michael has been just as happy with the experience as Terry has.
“Terry’s a great boss to work for,” Michael says. “He took the time to train me and help me to know what to do. And Terry inspired me to try new things.”Terry says Michael has just flourished in his position, so much so that Terry now enlists Michael’s help in training new staff.
“Michael has really changed my attitude towards hiring somebody with a special needs or a disability,” says Terry. “I wish I had ten Michaels.”
Don't let good talent go to waste. People with disabilities can and want to work.