Challenge opens new office to help disabled job seekers

It's going to get easier for people with disabilities to find work in the Yukon. At least that's the hope for the Challenge Disability Resource Group.

It’s going to get easier for people with disabilities to find work in the Yukon.

At least that’s the hope for the Challenge Disability Resource Group.

The non-profit officially opened the doors to The Hub yesterday, its office that offers employment assistance services to people with disabilities.

Challenge will receive more than $1 million over the next three years from the Labour Market Development Agreement to operate the agency.

The organization actually began serving clients in mid-September but wasn’t ready for a grand opening until now, according to executive director Rick Goodfellow.

“We didn’t want to open the doors and dive in head first,” he said.

“That, plus the fact that there was a delay on the delivery of our office furniture and computers.”

For more than five months this year, Yukoners with disabilities had to go through the Department of Education’s labour market programs and services unit for help finding work.

That role had previously been filled by the Yukon Council on Disability, which closed its doors at the end of March after its three-year deal with the government ended.

At the time, Education Minister Doug Graham said YCOD’s funding had not been renewed because the organization couldn’t meet the guidelines set in its agreement with the government.

“There was a lack of documentation and referral practices, and in fact a lot of people self-referred directly to advanced education when they found they didn’t receive the services they required from the non-profit,” Graham said.

On April 21, the Yukon government announced that Challenge had been chosen to take on the service.

Goodfellow believes the new group won’t have the same issues.

“We’ve got a background doing this,” he added.

“Two out of the three folks staffing our office come from our organization. Also, they’re using a case management system that’s had most of the bugs ironed out of it.

“It’s a lot easier to tap into resources and get the things you need.”

The location of the new office helps too, Goodfellow said.

The Hub is located at 204 Black Street, right down the hall from Employment Central.

“We can work back and forth between the two and make sure no one falls between the cracks.”

Klondike Outreach, Watson Lake Community Outreach and the Association franco-yukonnaise also help people find jobs through case-management services in the territory.

Contact Myles Dolphin at

myles@yukon-news.com

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