For besties Hannah and Shantel, landing jobs at the newly launched Joe’s Table Café has been a big win.
The dynamic duo have been friends for years and can now “talk shop” with one another. They are part of the inaugural team of staff who have been working at the new coffee shop since it opened at Quest University in September.
Shantel, 28, and Hannah, 23, are supported through Sea to Sky Community Services employment program, which helps adults with different abilities to prepare for, find and maintain employment. The job represents far more than a paycheque. “I like that I am learning,” Shantel says. “Students come in from different places and I get to meet them,” she adds.
Joe’s Table at Quest was opened by Peter and Stephanie Chung, in honour of their late son Joseph, who lived with autism. As reported in a recent Squamish Chief article, the Chung’s hope is that “customers will gain an understanding of the importance and value of inclusiveness.
Joe’s Table is one of more than 20 businesses along the Sea to Sky Corridor currently partnering with SSCS Employment Services to employ people with developmental disabilities.
Everyone has the right to work and to contribute to the community, says Cindy Cardiff, SSCS Community & Employment Services Worker. “Sometimes people with different abilities require additional supports,” she adds.
Cindy and her colleagues work with job seekers throughout the employment process – from resume building and job interview role playing to onsite job coaching and regular check ins. They accompanied Shantel and Hannah while they learned to take the bus to Quest and supported them as they trained for their new roles.
The Employment Services team also collaborates with participating employers to identify their goals and support requirements and to help determine appropriate placements. When the right fit is found, the employment relationship often lasts for a very long time, Cindy explains.
Joe’s Table is not Hannah or Shantel’s first job, but it is the first time they’ve worked for the same employer. Between them, the pair have worked at Sea-to-Sky Gondola, Tim Hortons, Nesters Market and Outwest Store. Hannah is saving her money for concert tickets, she says. “I went to Katy Perry with my mom,” she explains, and adds that she hopes, one day, to see Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran.
This article first appeared in the Sea to Sky Community Services Society’s website.