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Upcoming hiring fair helps companies discover prospective employees

WorkAbility has helped shift conversations from disability to ability
Youth Employment Services upcoming job fair, Embracing Mental Health & Employment, takes place on April 10 at The Museum of Vancouver. Photo via YES

It’s been a constant theme over the past decade, as Timothy Lang and his team have helped thousands of Canadians gain employment, and perhaps more importantly, a regained boost of confidence and independence.

Lang is the president and CEO of Youth Employment Services (YES), an employment training, programming and job placement leader established in 1968. WorkAbility is YES’ national employer education and training initiative that aims to create psychologically healthy workplaces.

For them, YES is more than a name - it’s a mission to change nos to yeses and break down barriers in the workforce. 

Come April 10 at The Museum of Vancouver, YES will host the Embracing Mental Health & Employment job fair that will cater to two distinct groups: employers who are looking to hire and are open to hiring people who self-identify as having mental health disabilities; and job seekers who self-identify with mental health disabilities and are looking to work for employers who prioritize their employees’ mental health.

“There is a vast, untapped labour force that is out there that is willing to work and will be long-term, productive employees,” Lang says. “We have data that shows individuals with mental health disabilities can be some of the most productive and best employees you can have.”

WorkAbility is designed to assist businesses to create inclusive and accessible workplaces for employees and candidates with mental health disabilities through a range of free activities that build employer awareness; raises the profile of persons with mental health disabilities within the business community; and promotes the benefits of hiring, retaining and promoting employees with mental health disabilities.

The event’s format will include award-winning mental health keynote speaker, Victoria Maxwell, with a panel discussion on mental health in the workplace to educate employers, followed by a job fair. The Embracing Mental Health & Employment job fair is free for employers, who can set up booths, interview people on the spot or gather resumes and provide info sessions. Employers can register here, and job seekers who wish to attend the fair can register here.

Lang explains that WorkAbility is open to virtually every sector, as few – if any – are untouched by mental health challenges.

And the statistics back that claim up:

  • One in five Canadians experience mental health challenges each year.
  • 44% of Canadian workers have indicated they experience mental health concerns.
  • Only 23% of employees reported they would talk to their employers about mental health concerns. There is a cost to employers for doing nothing. 
  • The annual economic cost is $50 billion, which is related to direct costs such as healthcare, social services and income support.
  • The annual indirect cost related to lost productivity is $6.3 billion.

The changes employers can make to assist those with mental health challenges may seem simple on the surface, but the results can be profound. Those shifts could include a variable work schedule, a break-out room to collect one’s thoughts, or even a change in the amount of breaks an employee takes in a day.

“Through simple accommodations, and the data shows this, individuals who self-identify with mental health disabilities can be very productive, loyal and in some cases, become top employees,” Lang says. “And your company doesn’t have to do any of this alone. We are offering this free training and service to help your company not only break into an untapped market, but we’ll also provide you with tools and training to adapt to this new culture.”

If you’re an employer and would like more information or to register for the roundtable event, click here. If you’re an employer and would like more information or to register for the Embracing Mental Health & Employment job  fair click here.