Link Up Employment Services for Persons with Disabilities
is a charitable, not-for-profit employment services agency with a head office in the heart of Toronto, Ontario, and a branch office in Woodbridge, Ontario.
When we first opened our doors in 1992, it was in response
to two great needs; a need by disabled job seekers for employment
suited to their skills and abilities and an equal need by
Toronto businesses for qualified, able and committed employees.
Since that first day almost two decades ago, we have been working
steadily to meet and to go beyond meeting both of those needs.
Since that day, we have been working steadily and tirelessly
and over the years have succeeded in matching thousands of
persons with disabilities to the labour market and have assisted
hundreds of others in obtaining the skills necessary to set
them solidly on a course towards employment.
Link Up attributes much of its success to the wide array
of cross-disability programs and services that we have developed
and employed over the years. From our initial very thorough
assessment of each job seeker’s skills and abilities
to our equally thorough analysis of each employer’s
particular requirements to our continuing support of job seekers
through workshops, seminars and opportunities to meet local
business recruiters to our willingness to assist with special
needs accommodations, Link Up is ever present
and available at every step along the way to employment. Administration
of these programs and services by a dedicated staff, a strong
clear vision from those who guide our organization and the
constant cooperation, support and assistance of our labour
market and service provider partners have all added to and
multiplied this success.
Every year since our start, we have expanded and grown and
reached out further and further, and in 1999, our efforts,
work and action on behalf of job seekers with disabilities
was recognized when Toronto City Council chose us for their
prestigious City of Toronto Access Award. This award, which
is presented annually to an organization that has ‘significantly
contributed to improving access for people with disabilities
in the city of Toronto’, is a great source of pride
to us and has since served as an impetus to even greater effort
and action on behalf of our clients.
Link Up looks to the future with excitement and with hope, and always to new and better ways to serve our job seekers and our employers. In 2011, we plan to move in a number of directions. We will further our partnerships established with various community organizations and private sector businesses to create programs to assist job seekers in developing a solid work ethic, strong work habits, a positive attitude and a real appreciation of work and employment. Soon to follow and very high on our list of priorities are programs to address the very special employment needs of youth with disabilities. We are keenly aware of the substantial extra barriers this group faces, know well their potential and the diversity of skills and abilities they are able to offer and are determined to assist in any way we can to lower their barriers and allow them their chance to succeed. Link Up also, in growing recognition and appreciation of the importance of safety in the workplace, has been actively looking for fresh ways to address this issue and opportunities to make our contribution to the safety and security of employees and employers. This search has led to a partnership and close collaboration with the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board and rollout in 2005 of a health and safety awareness program, SafeAbility, that is being taught to job seekers, disabled and non-disabled, across the Greater Toronto Area and beyond.
Finally, in 2007, Link Up released From Disabilities to Possibilities: A Guide to Hiring, Training and Retaining People with Disabilities, an employers guide to successfully employing persons with disabilities. Link Up is thrilled to hear that this guide is now being used effectively by private and public sector employers across Ontario and is increasingly being requested by other Canadian provinces.
Link Ups aim is to reach out to an ever-widening circle of persons with disabilities and to offer an ever-widening range of services to this circle. By continuing to reach out and offer our services, we make it possible for more and more persons with disabilities to make a contribution towards the economic life of their city and allow more and more businesses access to the entire pool of talent available when filling their positions. We will consider ourselves truly successful when all persons with disabilities have been allowed this chance and all companies given access to all job candidates available.