Kelly Bosshart likes to work with numbers. In her previous roles as an accounting assistant and office assistant, she handled large sums of money, processed invoices and handled vast amounts of information. When the Brampton woman was looking for a job this past summer prior to enrolling in the Office Administration, Medical program at Sheridan College, she was successful in securing a position with Compass Group Canada. Based in Mississauga, the company is a leader in food and support services, employing over 26,000 people across the country.
Bosshart was able to make the connection thanks to her previous experience, as well as through her involvement with the Redpath Centre and Ready, Willing & Able. A collaboration between theCanadian Association for Community Living, the Canadian Autism Spectrum Disorders Alliance and partners including Community Living Ontario, Ready, Willing & Able is a national initiative focused on increasing the labour force participation of job seekers with intellectual disabilities or who are on the autism spectrum.
Within a two-week period, Bosshart’s job coach submitted her resume to Ready, Willing & Able, she was interviewed for the position and Bosshart was hired shortly after. Over the course of the summer, Bosshart worked in the Diversity office, gathering and recording important data, which she enjoyed a great deal.
“You had to know how to manage your time and to make sure that you were getting things done as efficiently and productively as possible. [The workplace] was very conducive to being productive. I didn’t feel any stress or anxiety like, ‘Oh, I’m not going to get this done on time.’”
Gaynor Feltmate is the Diversity and Inclusion Specialist for Compass Group Canada, and she was also Kelly’s supervisor. In addition to being approachable and hard working, Feltmate says Bosshart was willing to take on any task.
“I was impressed with Kelly’s professionalism and the dedication to her job. Feedback from her co-workers was really positive.”
Feltmate adds that inclusive hiring is part of Compass’ philosophy, and looking at all potential areas of employment is important to accommodate and support their employees so that they realize their potential and contribute to the company’s success.
“Working with Ready, Willing & Able has enabled us to tap into a pool of talented and capable individuals that, otherwise, we would not have had access to. We gave them the criteria and job description and they did the rest. They went through their pool of individuals to identify suitable candidates. We anticipate that our continued involvement with Ready, Willing & Able will open the door to more associates being identified and hired to support our business needs.”
Once she completes her program, Bosshart hopes to continue to pursue her career in office administration or to seek out a position that would allow her to travel. Looking back, she was very appreciative of the whole experience.
“It was a great opportunity and I really enjoyed working for Compass. I’m grateful that Ready, Willing & Able was able to assist me with getting a summer job. They were incredibly helpful.”
October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month, an occasion to educate the business community about the barriers to employment for people with intellectual disabilities or ASD and to celebrate the gains made in inclusive employment.
Did you know that of the more than 500,000 people with intellectual disabilities or ASD in Canada, only one in four are gainfully employed? Yet, 75% or more of employers rate their workers with intellectual disabilities or ASD as good to very good on most performance indicators. The average turnover rate in Canada for workers across all industries is 49%, and the rate for workers with intellectual disabilities is 7%. There are virtually no exceptional costs to hiring someone with an intellectual disability or ASD.
Become an inclusive employer like Compass Group Canada. Visit Ready, Willing & Able’s web site to see how you can get started. Better yet, contact a Labour Market Facilitator to learn about Ready, Willing & Able’s hiring process:
Greater Toronto Area
416-447-4348 ext. 246
416-447-4348 ext. 235
– Ron Laroche, Community Living Ontario