Challenge readies to take over new role in September

The Challenge Disability Resource Group is gearing up to take over employment assistance services to people with disabilities by Sept. 1, according to the non-profit’s executive director.

The Challenge Disability Resource Group is gearing up to take over employment assistance services to people with disabilities by Sept. 1, according to the non-profit’s executive director.

Rick Goodfellow said the organization is in the process of finalizing a three-year agreement with the Yukon’s advanced education branch.

“It’s up and semi-running right now,” he said of the program, which helps disabled Yukoners find work.

“We’re actually working with a few clients right now. We could have had it running by July 1 but the location wouldn’t have been what we wanted, and the way we wanted it structured.”

As it stands, the Department of Education’s labour market programs and services unit is handling case management services.

Challenge’s new employment office – called the Workplace Information and Networking Hub, or simply ‘The Hub’ – is located at 204 Black Street, said Goodfellow.

The office is down the hall from Employment Central. That proximity should be mutually beneficial to both organizations, Goodfellow said.

“We can give them support and vice versa,” he said.

“That way, the client gets looked after. They’re a very successful mainstream operation.”

On April 21, the Yukon government announced that Challenge had been chosen to provide employment assistance services to people with disabilities.

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 July 30, Challenge received long-awaited federal funding for its employability skills program.

The organization received $273,000 through the federal government’s Youth Employment Strategy and Opportunities Fund.

Goodfellow said the money would go towards funding 13-week programs that train people for the job market.

“When folks are finished the program they’ll feed the employment office,” he said.

“We’re very pleased that we’re getting that (funding).”

The next round of programming begins in Oct. 12, Goodfellow said. The program runs year-round.

Contact Myles Dolphin at

myles@yukon-news.com

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