WorkSource takes lead in disabled staffing

Vancouver Safeways and Hilton have signed on

As part of National Disabilities Mentoring Day, at least two Vancouver businesses will open to area people with disabilities on Oct. 18.

Safeway’s Cascade Park store at 136th Avenue and Southeast Mill Plain Boulevard will give two tours as part of the Vancouver WorkSource’s second go at the program designed for people with disabilities to learn more about career opportunities that may interest them.

The Hilton Vancouver Hotel has also signed on.

Safeway has a history of hiring people with disabilities, but is a first-timer in the event, said Karen Seivert, Safeway’s district employee coordinator for Vancouver.

"We’ve always felt strongly that our workforce should reflect the customer base," she said. "Vancouver is made up of a diversity of people, and we think anybody should have the same chance for anything regardless of disability or diversity. Yes, any position."

The mentorship day is beneficial to both businesses and job seekers with disabilities, said Holly Parkin, account representative for Vancouver WorkSorce’s business services unit.

"It changes perceptions of people with disabilities," she said. "Employers may learn people with disabilities can do things and be trained in ways they didn’t think were possible, and job-seekers see ‘I can do a job even though I have a disability.’"

Seivert, who has a son with a disability, stressed that employers should not be afraid of employing people with disabilities, and said they are much easier to accommodate than most people expect.

"There is a wealth of employees out there that some companies are missing completely," she said.

Parkin said WorkSource targets larger businesses for the event because it takes most of the day, and many smaller businesses don’t have the manpower to help host it.

Companies that are interested in hosting should contact the WorkSource Business Services Unit at 360-735-5019.

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