© Ashley Thompson
Sherry Keen, Windsor Elms Village CEO, was pleased to accept the Lieutenant Governor's Persons with Disabilities Employer Partnership Award earlier this month.
The Windsor Elms Village was one of 10 employers in Nova Scotia to win the Lieutenant Governor's Persons with Disabilities Employer Partnership Award for 2013.
Sherry Keen, CEO of the Windsor Elms Village, accepted the award on behalf of the Falmouth-based long-term care home at the sixth annual Symposium on Inclusive Employment and Education in Halifax.
Keen says she was honoured when Kim Aker, executive director of the Hants County Community Access Network (Hants County CAN), contacted her and asked if she could nominate the Elms for the award recognizing inclusive employers.
“She said there has been a couple of CCAs who have found gainful employment here at the Windsor Elms through their program and are really flourishing and feeling included in the workplace,” said Keen.
In nominating the Elms, Aker said she is aware of a number of individuals with learning disabilities who have secured jobs as continuing care workers at the Elms upon graduating from their chosen field of study.
“The partnership among the Windsor Elms, NSCC, Hants County CAN and the support of Employment Nova Scotia has meant that several people who had previously been unemployed or underemployed are now not only part of the workforce, but that they have secured jobs they really wanted,” the nomination letter reads.
“One client proudly stopped by the HCC offices to share her marks with staff, and ultimately, her news of a job offer. The marked change in her stature and outlook has continued since her graduation and into her working life.”
Keen says the culture at the Elms is shaped by respect, diversity and acceptance.
“It’s not any one person that makes that happen. Obviously, you couldn’t have an inclusive culture if it just rested with one or two people.”
She says she is proud to say the Elms is a place where job candidates are evaluated strictly on their abilities, and people of all abilities are embraced with open arms.
“For us it’s more of living in a normal community and including all of those that you would find in any given community… and helping people grow wherever they are.”
Keen says it is time for people to consider how they could create more opportunities for persons with disabilities to obtain meaningful work.
“The value that that adds to the individual’s life is enormous,” she said.
“We all have an obligation to look at what we can do.”