Champions Career Centre: I Was More Lost Than I Thought I Was: Mat's Story Champions Career Centre: Diversity Champion: ATCO Structures & Logistics Champions Career Centre: Shifting Perceptions: Accommodations Aren't Always Expensive

Home Depot Meet and Greet, September 6th

Monday, August 26, 2013

Are you interested in starting a career with Home Depot?

Home Depot will be at the Champions Career Centre offices on Friday, September 6th, for a brief presentation about their company and opportunities specific to the Chinook store. Following their presentation Home Depot will conduct 5 minute screening interviews for interested candidates.

If you are interested in attending or would like more information please contact us by calling 403.265.5374 or email

Please attend professionally dressed and remember to bring your resume with you.

Please note that Home Depot is only recruiting for the Chinook location. If you wish to work at another store you should apply online at

Date: September 6th, 2013

Time: 1-3 pm

Champions Career Centre
Suite 650, 839 5th Ave SW
Calgary, Alberta

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I Was More Lost Than I Thought I Was: Mat's Story

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Last month, at our Annual Client Celebration, we had several of our clients give testimonials about their experience of looking for work while living with a disability.

Mat details his journey - from losing 85% of his vision in high school, to university, to struggling to find work after graduation - and ultimately finding the right job with the right employer for him. Which just happens to be a Case Manager at Champions.

This is his story.

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Diversity Champion: ATCO Structures & Logistics

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Reflecting the Diversity in Our Community

“Alberta is not the same place it was 25 years ago.”

Several economic booms, and corresponding busts, and an influx of people from all over Canada and the world have dramatically changed the shape of our province over the last couple decades. Nobody knows this reality better than Alitta Tait, Recruitment Supervisor for ATCO Structures and Logistics (ASL), who is tasked daily with meeting the recruitment challenges of operating in Alberta’s ever-changing work environment.

“Calgary is a boom and bust town,” Alitta explains, “And there is not a lot of available talent with the skills sets and team dynamic we are looking for. Hiring in Alberta is difficult – there are a lot of good companies and a ton of opportunities out there.”

The nature of the economy in Alberta can be both a blessing and curse for ASL. A booming economy creates more business for the company, but also makes it difficult to fill much needed positions to meet the demands of their industry. The oil and gas industry takes up a lot of the workforce and their ability to offer high salaries creates challenges for non-oil and gas companies to find and retain talent.

To meet this challenge, ASL looks to mirror the diversity inherent in their company and in our community.

“The ATCO Group of Companies is very diverse as an organization. We operate on six different continents and have nine different operating companies making the opportunities in our company incredibly diverse.  At the same time, Alberta is a diverse community and reaching out to different groups of people and adapting new sourcing strategies helps us remain competitive,” says Alitta.

At ASL, individual members of the recruiting team have taken on the task of reaching out to various groups who may represent under-utilized talent pools. These groups include persons with disabilities, Aboriginal peoples, immigrants, women and more. It allows each recruiter to focus on an area they are passionate about and to connect to possible gatekeepers and knowledge sources for each group.

Alitta explains this philosophy, “Being able to meet with organizations who are specialists, who can guide us and help us network in the right way with the right people is critical. For example, Champions understands our work environment quite well - our workplace culture – and they know how to send the right people who can succeed and enjoy it here.”

Andy Potton, one of our Employment and Retention Specialists at Champions, says it is refreshing to see the commitment from ASL. They have interviewed and hired numerous Champions clients, and are actively working with our team on building a diversity plan that can guide their workplace in the future.

“They really are a leader in the hiring and inclusions of persons with disabilities,” says Andy, “They look right past the disability. All they see are skills and talents and how a person might be the right fit.”

Even with a strong commitment, Alitta knows how difficult building a diverse workforce can be and that it isn’t done in a day. However, since putting a major focus on diversity the results have been more than encouraging.

“At first, it can be daunting,” says Alitta, “But getting involved with Champions, and other community agencies, helps us immensely. Giving us tips on best practices and showing us how to get involved really got the ball rolling and now it has taken on a life of its own.  We’ve always had a great workplace culture here but the amount of excitement, sharing and openness that has occurred since the organization really focused on diversity has been very encouraging.”

If mirroring and reflecting the many diverse communities in Alberta is the goal, then the dynamic and multi-faceted workplace they are building at ATCO Structures & Logistics is definitely moving in the right direction.

ATCO Structures & Logistics has more than 65 years experience providing complete infrastructure solutions to customers worldwide. They are your source for award-winning, innovative modular building solutions, remote workforce accommodations, lodging and site-wide services, noise abatement and air emissions control technologies. They have manufacturing facilities in North America, South America and Australia, operations on 6 continents and a global supply chain, allowing them to deliver a rapid, turn-key solution anywhere it’s needed.

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Shifting Perceptions: Accommodations Aren't Always Expensive

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

At Champions, we are often solicited by employers who would like more information about hiring and retaining persons with disabilities in their respective workplaces. When working with various employers we generally like to start by addressing many misconceptions that exist about persons with disabilities. Education and awareness can often go a long way to removing stigma and discrimination and can be part of promoting greater participation of persons with with disabilities in the workplace.

This article is part of an ongoing series of posts on this blog titled Shifting Perceptions. In these posts we will discuss many of the myths and misconceptions which exist and hopefully paint a truer picture of the reality of including persons with disabilities in the workplace.

Today's Myth: Hiring or retaining an employee with a disability will involve considerable expenses for accommodations.

Fact: Most job accommodations are simple and inexpensive.

The reality is that most persons with disabilities don't need accommodations as they know how to self-accommodate. They know how to be work with their disability and have strategies in place to be successful in the workplace. However, in some instances accommodations may be required.

Numerous studies have been done which show that accommodations for persons with disabilities usually do not involve a lot of expense. The most frequently cited study comes from the Job Accommodation Network (JAN, 1990:2000), who found that 80% of accommodations cost less than $500.

Follow up studies from JAN have painted an even clearer picture of the costs involved with accommodations. In 2006, employers who were interviewed said slightly over half (50.5%) of the accommodations they implemented had been at no cost. For those employers who did experience some cost, the median dollar value was $600 - with almost all of these accommodations being a one time cost. The most common accommodation? A change in work schedule, which is an accommodation often extended to every employee.

And the cost for providing accommodations to existing employees? It is almost far less than the costs associated with bringing on new hires. In 1996, researchers found the average administrative cost of hiring and training a new Sears employee ranged between $1,800 to $2,400, as compared to an average cost of $45 for accommodating an existing employee (Blanck, 1996).

In the rare cases where the cost associated with accommodations becomes prohibitive, there are often funding sources from the government which can help cover the costs. For example, in Alberta we have Disability Related Employment Supports (DRES) funding, which covers everything from on the job supports, worksite modifications, vehicle modifications, to assistive technology.

However, there is still plenty of room for more research in this area. Currently, almost all of the research is focused on the cost of retaining current employees. Obviously an employer has more of an imperative to try and keep a current employee - as they already have an investment in them and are also aware of their experience and contributions to the company. They may also be compelled legally to retain their current employees.

For new hires, breaking down these misconceptions about accommodations is huge. But the burden of education comes from both parties in the hiring process. Employers need to be open to the unfamiliar and avoid making judgement calls regarding disabilities, and recruits need to know how to present themselves in a way that allows an employer to focus on their abilities.

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