Lesley Beaulieu is grateful to the people who have given her the opportunity to succeed.
Beaulieu is a graduate of the University of Regina’s Campus For All program, a four-year inclusive post-secondary education experience for adults with an intellectual disability.
More than 18 months ago, Beaulieu was hired by Farm Credit Corporation (FCC) to work with the accounts payable team at head office.
“My work consists of processing invoices, helping the file clerk fold cheques, and stuffing and sealing envelopes. These cheques are sent to all the vendors FCC deals with,” says Beaulieu. “What I enjoy the most about working at FCC is the people. Everyone is super nice and my co-workers see me as a valuable part of the team.”
Beaulieu shared her experiences at an on-campus event acknowledging October as National Disability Employment Awareness Month. Other speakers at the event included President Dr. Vianne Timmons, Laura Ross, the MLA for Regina Rochdale and Michael Hoffart, President of Farm Credit Canada.
Three years ago, Campus For All, in partnership with Creative Options Regina, created an initiative called 4to40. The initiative connects people experiencing disability with employers who embrace a flexible 4 to 40 hour work week.
Since 4to40 was created, 12 students and graduates have earned permanent jobs. This includes three who work at FCC and two at the U of R Fitness and Lifestyle Centre.
“Research shows that post-secondary education enhances employment outcomes for individuals who have an intellectual disability, including a wider range of job opportunities and greater pay – just like it does for their peers,” says Faith Savarese, Coordinator for Campus For All. “However, we still have a long way to go to find equality. Nearly 70 per cent of Canadians living with a disability are unemployed.”
Dr. Vianne Timmons has taken a personal and professional interest in the rights of the disabled.
“Campus For All is a meaningful undertaking and something that is close to my heart,” says Timmons. “Inclusive education is important – but it is equally important to promote employment opportunities for young persons with disabilities. Employers who have hired persons with disabilities have found they rate average or better on job performance, attendance and workplace safety – and this is something of which we should all take note.”
Timmons praised FCC for its inclusive hiring policy and issued a challenge to other employers.
Says Timmons: “I’d like to issue a challenge to other organizations and show leadership like FCC has. Look at 4to40 options and see for yourself the great potential of persons with intellectual disabilities.”