Since February 2017, Tee Talent has chosen a new approach for its business, focusing more on providing services to other companies. We decided to share on our blog and social media who are these companies and organizations that are doing business with us. Our first interview is with ATN Access Inc, a not for profit registered charity based in London, Ontario, whose mandate is to provide opportunities for individuals with disabilities to gain access to employment. ATN also operates a social enterprise, The Old Village East Grocer, that was created to give employment opportunities for people with barriers. ATN purchased custom t-shirts and pens for Tee Talent. Below you will find an interview with Vicki Mayer, Executive Director of ATN Access Inc.
1. What was your inspiration behind starting the grocery skills program at The Old Village Grocer?
The program began as a recognition of the need for a grocery store in the east part of downtown London. I was also looking for a place to invest time and effort to provide more skills and training to our clients.
2. In your opinion, how much is the unemployment rate of disabled people, due to misconceptions in the workforce?
I believe that misconceptions are responsible for 90% of the unemployment rate of people with disabilities, maybe higher even! The issue is not that they don’t have the talents or skills to be successful, but putting aside misconceptions and rethinking the workforce in general.
3. What is the biggest difference you notice in participants after they have completed the program?
It is a personal process for all participants, but, in general, confidence and sense of purpose are definitely noticeable. Also, the additional income allows for a more comfortable lifestyle, resulting in less anxiety and an increased level of pride.
4. What are you your hopes for the program in the future?
I would love the store to expand, and, eventually, pay for itself. This would prove that the model works, and, therefore, can be replicated. I would love to be invited to help other communities replicate similar social enterprises in their communities.
5.Why did you choose to work with Tee Talent compared to other companies?
The social purpose guided us to check out their website, and get into contact with Carlos. I loved the social piece involved. The investment was then verified/affirmed by the quality and speed of their work.
ATN Access Inc.
141 Dundas Street, 5th Floor - Reception
London, ON, N6A 1G3.