National AccessAbility Week (NAAW) is about recognizing the efforts of Canadians who are actively removing barriers and ensuring persons with disabilities have an equal chance to participate in all aspects of society.
To celebrate these contributions, Agilec would like to spotlight our very own Shelley Patterson, a Vocational Specialist working in our Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP).
Hello! My name is Shelley Patterson.
I was hired at Agilec on December 3, 2001. During these 19 years at Agilec, I have worked on many projects, in many different roles. I have been a Vocational Specialist, Vocational Rehabilitation Consultant, Employment/Job Coach, Educational Counsellor, and Employer Liaison. I have had the distinct pleasure of helping injured workers return to work, persons with disabilities find their first jobs or find their career passions. I have worked to support Canadian Armed Forces members and their families supporting the transition from military to civilian life. I have supported farmers and their families find the right training to advance their businesses.
At Agilec, we focus on seeing people’s strengths and skills and help them and employers see them too. Building confidence, and a belief that “I can do this,” has been what I love most about my work. Every day is a chance to make a difference in so many lives.
My proudest moment came when I was working with a candidate who experienced anxiety and was diagnosed with a developmental disability. Through on-the-job work trials, we learned what worked and what did not work for this person. After further exploration and with the help of job coaching, we secured a position at a telecommunication company. Through hard work and support to learn all aspects of the job, it was a success, and 15 years later, it continues to be a success. Every year I get a Christmas card from this candidate and it reminds me of the impact my work has on individuals and families.
To me National AccessAbility Week is a time when accessibility and inclusion are promoted across communities and workplaces. It is a time to celebrate the contributions of Canadians with disabilities and a reminder that we are more alike than we are different.
If you are a person with disabilities and would like support with your employment goals, click here to learn more about Agilec’s Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) and the ways we can help.