New COMPASS Program offers youth with diverse abilities access to employment opportunities

Vancouver, B.C.: Building on Easter Seals BC/Yukon’s recently unveiled 10-year plan, which is focused on supporting children with diverse abilities throughout their lifetime, the charity has taken another step forward by collaborating with industry and community supporters to develop the COMPASS employment program. This new initiative is designed to address industry forecasted labour shortages in BC and Yukon and to ensure youth and young adults with diverse abilities have access to these employment opportunities.

Created as a pilot project that will roll out in a series of four workshops, COMPASS provides opportunities for persons with diverse abilities to Explore, Discover, Navigate and Embrace their future with the goal of improving their social and economic well-being. Research has identified that youth and young adults with diverse abilities are facing high levels of unemployment, poverty, and isolation resulting in community and family breakdowns, compromised health, and economic distress.

“We’ve had a tremendous response from industry and are grateful for the support and interest in working together,” says Charlene Krepiakevich, President/CEO of Easter Seals BC/Yukon and BC Lions Society for Children with Disabilities (Society). “We know that everyone benefits from a community in which everyone is accepted, able to participate, make a contribution and has a role regardless of their abiltities so the COMPASS program is a vitally important initiative towards making this a reality.”

 The COMPASS pilot workshops currently under development include:

  • EXPLORE: a workshop for youth to explore employment opportunities.
  • DISCOVER: a workshop for youth to discover their abilities.
  • NAVIGATE: a workshop for youth to navigate or plan their work journey.
  • EMBRACE: a workshop for employers to help support success.

The EXPLORE workshop will be held at Easter Seals Camp Winfield (Lake Country, BC) in May 2019 and is designed to engage youth and young adults and their families on a journey to explore employment opportunities in high demand sectors in BC and the Yukon. EXPLORE students will hear from the industry and potential employers about opportunities for jobs in specific industries along with related workplace skill requirements and also learn about the various skills and training programs that are available in post-secondary schools. Applications for the EXPLORE workshop are now available.

“Youth with diverse abilities deserve access to a range of career opportunities, and we’re delighted that Easter Seals BC/Yukon is providing the chance to explore a variety of in-demand job options, particularly in trades,” says Shelley Gray, interim Chief Executive Officer, Industry Training Authority of BC. “The COMPASS program is a great step forward in their plan and certainly a natural fit for our organization which values innovation, collaboration and inclusion and we look forward to participating in the upcoming workshops.”

Program Supporters:

  • Industry Trades Authority of BC (ITABC)
  • Pathways Kelowna
  • HR Tech Group, a forum for human resources professionals in the B.C. tech industry
  • go2HR, BC’s tourism industry human resource association
  • Thompson Rivers University
  • B.C. Restaurant and Foodservices Association


In January 2019, Easter Seals BC/Yukon announced a new vision and groundbreaking new direction for the 66-year old charity. Summer camps, skills and employment development for youth and adults, mixed housing, social enterprises and more are at the center of the innovative new 10-year plan, one that has been designed to support children at every age, and stage, of life. With an expanded focus aimed at serving ALL people with diverse abilities, Easter Seals BC/Yukon plans, where possible, to evolve their real estate and camp facilities in BC into dynamic year-round community hubs, offering new programs and services, including the well-loved summer camps for kids and youth. Through a new capital campaign, partnerships, and the support of stakeholders, Easter Seals BC/Yukon is charting a new course with the vision to reimagine its facilities to meet the needs of people with diverse abilities throughout their lifetime, thereby enabling abilities for life.


Click here to learn more and register for the COMPASS Program
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