For as long as he can remember, all Justin Farano ever wanted was a job. “To be honest, I didn’t know what kind of job I wanted, all I knew was that I wanted one, whether it was big or small,” the 22-year-old said.
After spending some time working at a hockey store, and then at a supermarket, Farano decided it was time he looked for his dream job. He attended Douglas College to complete the Consumer and Employment Program, a program that was specifically designed to help people with barriers to employment. Farano has autism, but if you ask him, he would not consider his intellectual disability a barrier to employment.
“The biggest challenge I had was finding a job that suits me and that suits my skills,” he said. It was not until Farano teamed up with Liane Lowden, an employment specialist at posAbilities Employment Service,that he finally found his calling.
PosAbilties is an agency that assists people with developmental disabilities to lead meaningful and healthy lives, including securing and maintaining competitive employment. Its employment service matches the skills and interests of the career seekers with openings in a variety of industries, and provides coaching and support along the way.
Five months into his dream job, Justin now works as an administrator at Vancity. His duties include data entry and sorting mail. His favourite part of being an administrator at Vancity? Justin said it is delivering cookies and cards to his coworkers on special occasions and “seeing my friends, my coworkers, anybody, seeing them smile and making sure they have a happy day.”
Because of Vancity’s inclusive hiring policies, people with barriers to employment have equitable employment opportunities. While Vancity is just one of a number of posAbilities’ community partnerships, Justin’s supervisor and workforce manager, Max-Antoine Fleurentin, said it was a mutually-beneficial decision to connect with the employment agency. “It’s in our DNA to be inclusive and it was something that was very natural for us to do,” Fleurentin said. By creating an open and respectful work environment, Fleurentin said he has never encountered any issues of discrimination, regardless of the colour of your skin, sexual orientation, or ability. “We are all employees, we are all a big family here,” he said.