Foundation for Success

Work experience in high school is an invaluable building block, and Vecova has been exceptional in its organized, professional and tailored approach.

Youth Program Parent

The names of the individuals in this story have been omitted to ensure their privacy.

 

The start of the school year can be an exciting and challenging time for students and their families.

 

My family and I went through this same experience when our son prepared to enter his last year of high school. As a student with a disability, we knew there might be barriers ahead. After years of having the support of the school system, the end of high school brought uncertainty as our son prepared to transition into adulthood.

 

Students like our son need more time to develop skills, both soft and hard, so it is critical to start as young as possible.

 

Fortunately, Vecova’s Youth Program provided transition support to our family and worked with him to develop employability skills and find a work placement at a local hardware store.

 

Work experience in high school is an invaluable building block, and Vecova has been exceptional in its organized, professional and tailored approach.

 

This tailoring has resulted in a positive experience that has boosted our son’s confidence, his independence, his ability to interact with supervisors, co-workers and customers, and his overall desire to secure paid employment after high school.

 

However, my family and I aren’t the only ones on this journey. Across Alberta, youth with disabilities and their families are facing increased uncertainty this year.

 

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on employment in the province, and youth with disabilities and barriers to employment have been hit especially hard.

 

For some students the pandemic interrupted work experience terms, and has limited opportunities for paid employment after high school. Current statistics make these opportunities even more difficult to attain:

 

  • Before the pandemic, youth with disabilities were employed at far lower rates than youth without disabilities – 36.4% compared to 53.9%.
  • In 2017, there were approximately 108,790 youth with disabilities who were Not in Employment, Education or Training (NEET).
  • Of these youth, 83,440 were able or looking for work. Due to the pandemic, these numbers are anticipated to be much higher.

 

A gift from you today will provide students like my son with the support they need to realize their goals for the school year and their dreams for the future. Your support will ensure youth with disabilities have the knowledge, skills and experience needed to better position themselves for employment and achieve their career goals.

Vecova is committed to providing opportunities for inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment and decent work for Albertans of all abilities.

 

Their Youth Program team spent a lot of time up front with our family to identify our son’s real interests, goals and challenges, and then worked very hard to find a placement perfectly suited to him.

 

Through the program, our son has learned how to take transportation to work, how to communicate to a supervisor regarding work shift times and days, how to do certain job tasks such as using a scanner and putting out stock in an organized manner, and how to answer customer inquiries and interact with co-workers.

 

Thanks to the incredible support of donors like you, youth with disabilities like my son can realize their hopes and dreams for the future.

 

Our son has learned the importance of taking initiative and showing more outward enthusiasm – discovering in the process what he does and does not enjoy so he can continue to develop his career goals.

 

The work experience is also a great addition to his resume, and will hopefully increase his marketability after high school.

 

However, there are still many other students starting their journey to adulthood this year that need your support.

 

Economic uncertainty has made attaining employment an even greater challenge for youth with disabilities. Having support to navigate the path from youth to adulthood can make all the difference.

 

Your gift today, whether by mail or securely online at vecova.ca/donate, helps ensure each and every youth has the chance to succeed after school. Vecova uses your gift to improve local lives – youth with disabilities and their families living in your community.

 

Work experience has been a highlight for our son, and we are very thankful for the program. With your support, more youth with disabilities and their families can feel ready for the future.

 

Sincerely,

 

A Vecova Youth Program Participant Parent

 

P.S. Thanks to Vecova, my son has the confidence, skills and experience to bring him one step closer to achieving his career goals. A gift from you today means youth with disabilities in Alberta can imagine a brighter future ahead.