NOVEMBER MEMBER SPOTLIGHT:
CASE is excited to announce November’s CASE Member Spotlight: Life Directions.
Life Directions is an employment subsidiary of South-East Grey Support Services (SEGSS) created in 1997 that specializes in employment programming and employer supports. CASE’s National Membership Coordinator, Nicole, had some time to connect with two dedicated and knowledgeable staff members, Cristin and Chelsea, to discuss some exciting initiatives Life Directions has been working on.
Going Beyond the Basics: Tailored Support for Job Seekers
What sets your organization apart from other service providers in the same field?
Individuality is the core value of supporting job seekers. During intake, we assess basic needs, including food, clothing, shelter, transportation, communication, and equitable access to health care.
If an individual lacks basic needs, we create a plan to collaborate with other community partners to develop wrap-around support. We work with an Occupational Therapist to administer professional workplace accommodations and job modification documentation.
The Power of Partnerships
How does your organization collaborate with local businesses or employers to create employment opportunities for those you serve?
In 2019, we officially signed as a MentorAbility site partner in Grey Bruce. Mentorships are a collaboration between businesses, professionals, and service organizations to aid job seekers in determining a career pathway.
Employers and professionals interested in offering mentoring opportunities learn about inclusive employment strategies and connect with a pool of potential future employees. MentorAbility is the heart of successful employment placements. With a 1:1 mentorship, employers and job seekers can meet each other, learn about the different roles, tour the organization, try their hand at simple tasks, and more.
What are some of the most significant challenges your organization has faced, and how did you overcome them?
Transportation is a challenge in the rural communities we serve. Life Directions has an ongoing dialogue with government and transportation companies on bridging the gap and offering services to more rural areas. Since we started those discussions, the rural bus route has added more transit locations.
Life Directions also partnered with World Class Driving School as an official MTO site. Driver training is offered to eligible job seekers to assist in reducing employment and transportation barriers.
In what ways do you ensure the inclusivity and diversity of your services to meet the unique needs of different individuals?
Our job seekers start with a self-discovery process where they learn about themselves: learning and communication styles, skill sets, and interests. A career/lifestyle employment action plan is developed. We begin every intake with an in-depth basic needs assessment.
After these components, they create Mentorship goals for the workplaces they want to learn more about. With Mentorships, we can place the job seeker in their work environment of choice without the obligation of taking a job to analyze if it’s a good fit for both the job seeker and employer. Our primary goal is complete satisfaction for both the job seeker and employer with the match.
In addition, we consistently update our professional development certifications, attend conferences, and network with career development professionals to ensure we deliver best practices in supported employment. Our organization also hires inclusively and we have team members who self-identify as living with disabilities and overcoming employment barriers.
CASE thought that the Life Directions motto really fit with our nine guiding principles:
“Being creative, embracing change, valuing diversity and inclusion.”
Connecting with Life Directions
How can someone refer a person to Life Directions for support, and what is the process for getting involved with your services?
Soft referrals are always welcome. Please introduce us to a job seeker or business via email at [email protected] or register as a job seeker or organization/business on our new portal at www.lifedirections.ca.
We’re so happy that we had the opportunity to confirm that. Bravo, Life Directions, for the fabulous work that you’re doing in the community of Grey Bruce, Ontario.