Empowering young adults with disabilities for success in the workplace and in life: RBC renews its support for Easter Seals' 21st Century Skills & Leadership Program - Easter Seals Canada

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EMPOWERING MORE YOUNG ADULTS WITH DISABILITIES FOR SUCCESS IN THE WORKPLACE AND IN LIFE: RBC RENEWS ITS SUPPORT FOR EASTER SEALS’ 21ST CENTURY SKILLS & LEADERSHIP PROGRAM

Canada, April 26, 2021 – For many years, Easter Seals have offered a variety of innovative programs and services that have successfully created employment opportunities and supported the career development and aspirations of adult Canadians living with disabilities. More recently, Easter Seals began offering the 21st Century Skills & Leadership Program, which is geared towards supporting young adults between 15 and 29 years old in positioning themselves for future success in the workplace and in life by providing them with skills-development, coaching, networking, and real-life workplace and/or volunteer experience activities. Over the past 3 years, close to 200 young adults living with disabilities have successfully gone through the program, with many going on to secure ongoing part-time or full-time employment.

“Before [joining] the program, I struggled with the job search. I was unsure of where to start. But through this program, I was able to gain job search skills, learn ways to improve my job interview skills, and have learned many other valuable skills that have also helped me better my life. I now feel more connected to myself, my community, and have a job that I enjoy. I feel more prepared to make decisions about my future and have many new coping skills to help me get through any possible bumps in the road.”Bobbie C. former participant

Central to the success of the program is Easter Seals’ partnership with RBC, which funded the pilot in 2018 and through its RBC Future Launch initiative, enabled Easter Seals to scale up the program to additional provinces in subsequent years. Easter Seals Canada is pleased to announce that RBC Foundation is renewing its support for the program with a $450,000 contribution over the next 3 years (2021-2023). This will enable Easter Seals Canada and Easter Seals provincial members organizations to offer the program to more young adults in Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Newfoundland, Ontario, and Saskatchewan.

RBC’s renewed support comes at a critical juncture as Canadians grapple with the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic. Prior to the pandemic, many studies point to the unique challenges that persons with disabilities face in securing employment. The pandemic has made this challenging situation even worse. “The pandemic has strengthened Easter Seals’ resolve to support young adults with disabilities navigate and overcome the challenges they face in securing meaningful paid employment. Employment is a critical factor in enabling the youth to lead independent, healthy lives, and empower them to further realize their life goals. We are extremely pleased to build on our partnership with RBC over the next few years,” says Dave Starrett, President and CEO of Easter Seals Canada.

The program’s efficacy was affirmed by Martha McGuire of Logical Outcomes, who provided an independent review of the program: “Overall, it appears that the programs contribute to a number of positive changes in the participants…. Based on the number of young people with disabilities, the challenges in transitioning from school to adulthood, and the uptake of the program even during a pandemic speaks to the need for the program and its relevancy for the participants.”

“As digital and machine technology advances, the next generation of Canadians will need to be more adaptive, creative, and collaborative, adding and refining skills to keep pace with a world of work undergoing profound change,” said Valeri Chort, Vice President, Corporate Citizenship & Sustainability, RBC. “That’s what RBC Future Launch is all about, and through our partnership with Easter Seals, we hope to enable young people to identify, articulate and build their skills—and help young Canadians develop them.”

RBC Future Launch is a 10-year, $500 million commitment to empower Canadian youth for the jobs of tomorrow. With a focus on networking, skills development, practical work experience and mental wellbeing supports and services, the initiative aims to help break down the barriers facing young people. For more information about the RBC Future Launch program, visit the RBC Future Launch website: rbc.com/futurelaunch. #RBCFutureLaunch

About Easter Seals Canada

Easter Seals is Canada’s largest local provider of programs, services, and issues-leadership and development for the disability community. Since 1922, Easter Seals Canada and its provincial member organizations have been working to create a more inclusive and accessible society that includes and honours the contributions and potential of Canadians of all abilities. Easter Seals responds to the needs and aspirations of Canadians living with disabilities – and their families – by providing services that enhance their independence, well-being, and quality of life; and by offering leadership that promote increased awareness, research, and investment in disability issues.

For more information about Easter Seals, please contact Casey Sabawi, Senior Manager, National Corporate Partnerships at partnerships@easterseals.ca.

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Easter Seals Canada: Helping Canadians living with disabilities be #UNSTOPPABLE®.

Testimonies from program participants

A photo of a young woman wearing a black shirt and cap, preparing a pizza in an industrial kitchen

For a long time, I was looking for something that could help me get employment. After trying some different programs where they didn’t seem to understand me or my learning disability, I felt discouraged. The Easter seals program gave me a chance. They found a place for me and took the time to teach me the job. I am grateful for the chance and the time that they spent with me. I like my job position as it is a good one and the owners are very nice. Eventually, I hope to get more work hours. This program has made a big difference for me and I would definitely recommend it to others with disabilities. – Caitlyn, program participant

Photo of a young man wearing a green sweater and orange gloves with arms folded at his chest, standing in front of a shop door with an open signI like the program at Easter Seals because it provides an opportunity to socialize with others, as well as practice my communication skills. We did a lot of training sessions on coping skills, turning negative thoughts into positive thoughts, and dealing with social anxiety. I think the Easter Seals program gave me confidence, which made me more comfortable initiating and maintaining conversations with my peers. This confidence also helped me out in my practice interviews as well. We have had multiple mock interviews. I think this is what helped me obtain my current job. – Ethan, program participant

Related article

Some young adults sitting around a conference tableRBC FOUNDATION EMPOWERING YOUTH LIVING WITH DISABILITIES WITH $300,000 FUNDING FOR EASTER SEALS PROGRAM TO HELP YOUTH BUILD SKILLS AND EXPERIENCE FOR FUTURE SUCCESS IN LIFE AND THE WORKPLACE

TORONTO, April 23, 2019 – Easter Seals Canada is pleased to announce a partnership with RBC Foundation to empower youth who are living with disabilities for future success in life and the workplace by providing them with opportunities to participate in skills development and training, coaching, mentoring, work placements and volunteer activities in five provinces. The Easter Seals – RBC 21st Century Skills and Leadership Program will serve youth – between the ages of 15 and 29 years old – in British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, Newfoundland & Labrador, and Nova Scotia. Read more…

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