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Manitoba Government News Release–The Manitoba government is launching a pilot project in collaboration with supported employment service providers, aimed at harnessing the employment potential of young adults living with intellectual disabilities in Manitoba, Families Minister Rochelle Squires, minister responsible for accessibility, announced today.

“Our government is dedicated to building a more inclusive society and ensuring that every Manitoban has the opportunity to contribute to the workforce and thrive,” said Squires. “With this pilot project, we aim to empower young adults with intellectual disabilities, by providing the necessary support and training to secure meaningful employment and enhance their quality of life.”

The ‘Improving Quality of Life’ initiative is the latest commitment in continued efforts to build an employment first philosophy in disability services to ensure young people have greater options for entering the workforce, the minister noted. This specific initiative intended to focus on employment for persons living with intellectual disabilities with the introduction of a two-year pilot project, targeting two distinct age groups.

“This pilot project offers a way for youth to focus on employment and their future career path. Planning for the future will begin years earlier and will surely result in improved opportunities,” said Margo Powell, executive director, Abilities Manitoba.

The $600,000 pilot project is designed to offer a valuable opportunity to young adults and will involve 30 individuals in the first group aged 18 to 20, with no cap for second group aged 21 to 25. For the 18 to 20 age group, the project will enable access to employment services before reaching the age of 21. Simultaneously, the 21 to 25 age group will be focused on exploring employment opportunities.

“We are working diligently with supported employment service providers conducting extensive research and consultations to design a robust pilot project that addresses the specific needs and aspirations of these young individuals,” said Squires. “By offering tailored employment services and support, we aim to create a more inclusive workforce, fostering a thriving and diverse labour market in Manitoba.”

The pilot project will invite participants to complete an employment discovery tool to assess their skills and preferences, and service provider agencies will be identified through an expression of interest process. Over the course of one year, the project will be evaluated, including the assessment of various service models and tools provided by the agencies to determine their effectiveness.

The minister noted that as Manitoba continues its journey towards a more inclusive society, this pilot project marks a significant step in enhancing the lives of young adults with intellectual disabilities, creating opportunities for personal growth, skill development, and meaningful employment.

The Manitoba government is committed to promoting inclusion and fostering employment opportunities for individuals with intellectual disabilities in the province’s workplaces and labour force, the minister added.

To learn more about this new initiative, visit: https://gov.mb.ca/fs/clds/iqol-employment-pilot.html.