male construction worker
female baker
male truck driver
Female Lab worker

Spring 2019

When Courtney started looking for work in Thunder Bay, she was on maternity leave.  She was ready to get back to work with a flexible, part-time position.  She was feeling frustrated with what she called the “Kijiji/Indeed loop”, when she found information about YES on-line.  “I was excited to see that Thunder Bay has this unique service catering to job-seekers and employers”, Courtney said.
Courtney came to Thunder Bay with what she describes as an “unconventional education and work background”.  Her education was specific to Jewellery and Design and most of her work experience was in the Fine Arts field in galleries and working with artists.  While she lived in Calgary, Courtney utilized a head-hunting agency to help her find work.   She was pleased to discover that a lot of these same services were delivered by YES in Thunder Bay at no cost through Employment Ontario programs.

After assessing Courtney’s situation and her needs, a Career Development Practitioner (CDP) at YES connected her to the personal assistance available through the Employment Service program.  “They spent quite a while talking about what I wanted, focusing on my strengths and passions,” Courtney remembers. Courtney was open to a new field and was very excited when her CDP asked her if she would be interested in working in an administrative role with Oak Medical Arts. Courtney interviewed for the position and was impressed with this growing business. She was hired on as a personal assistant to the director. 

The position was exactly what she needed as a new mom.   At 10-15 hours a week, it offered the flexibility she needed. Courtney had never worked in the health care field, but as time went on, she was given more responsibility. Eventually she took on the role of Project Manager with the company.   

We re-connected with Courtney when we reached out to Oak Medical Arts to offer assistance with their ongoing recruitment efforts.  Now accessing employer services, Courtney is working with YES again to help the business grow.  She appreciates the assistance available to employers through Employment Ontario programming.

When asked about her current role with Oak Medical Arts, Courtney reflected on her journey. “This is my first position in a health care related career. I could never imagine working in another field.  Although my position is not health care specific, it is a motivator. I strongly agree with what Oak Medical Arts stands for, especially the concept of a multi-disciplinary health team collaborating on patient-centred care. I consider myself multi-disciplinary, given my diverse background. My success at Oak speaks to the business’ core values: that a creative, multi-disciplinary approach can yield the best results.”  Congratulations, Courtney!  We look forward to our ongoing partnership.

When we caught up with Oliver at Shopper’s Drug Mart, he was checking customers through like a seasoned professional.  Anna Kapoor, Pharmacist/Owner, arranged a break for Oliver so he could chat with us about his success. 

“I started out as a merchandiser, but I did a little bit of everything.  Now I’m trained on cash”, Oliver explained.  Shopper’s hired him on after his placement ended.  In August, he will have been with the company a full year.  the position just clicked for Oliver.  He likes that they offer a solid training plan and that the company is well-staffed.  His supervisor is supportive and his co-workers “have each other’s backs”.  When his placement was ending, Oliver asked his supervisor if they would be keeping him on.  Oliver said his supervisor seemed surprised by the question stating: “Are you kidding me? Of course we are keeping you on.”

When Oliver first came to YES he was not having much success with his job search.  He had low motivation after a few negative workplace experiences.   As soon as Oliver walked in the door at YES, we focused on assessing his needs and matching him to the programs and services that would help support his employment goals.  He was a good fit for Youth Job Connection so he met with one of our Youth Workers.  He talked about all the things that were interfering with his job search success.  He mentioned feeling very low at the time, and his Youth Worker, Sharon De Benetti, connected him with a counsellor at Catholic Family Development Centre.  “I have to give a shout out to the counsellors there,” Oliver said, “They really helped.”

In addition to supporting YJC with barriers to employment, our Youth Workers also build the skills of participants through pre-employment training.  Oliver appreciated the practical skills like resume building and health and safety.  He also gained valuable “soft” skills like communications, problem-solving and time management.   Oliver appreciated the fact that he received a stipend equal to minimum wage for every hour he completed.   Oliver completed over 60 hours of training and he felt ready for workplace success.

Oliver worked with the YJC Job Developer, Ross Raven to find a good match for his skill set.  He had a good feeling about Shopper’s Drug Mart right away.  Since starting with the organization, Oliver has been “Employee of the month” twice.  Congratulations on all your success, Oliver!

If you would like to find out how YES can help you reach your employment and training goals, just walk in!

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