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Rotary Employment Partnerships - Overview

The dreams parents have for their sons and daughters with developmental disabilities are no less than the dreams they and other parents share for their children without disabilities - to have every opportunity for a career, make a contribution; earn an income and be valued as community members. People with developmental disabilities share the aspirations of their families and want nothing more than the opportunity to demonstrate their potential. Unfortunately, the vast majority of Albertans with developmental disabilities are unemployed or underemployed.

For people without disabilities, a good job helps to give purpose to life and affirms a valued place in society.  Imagine if, as a result of a disability through no fault of your own, you were relegated to a life on the sidelines. Rotary, Inclusion Alberta and the Government of Alberta are committed to working in partnership with the business and broader community to create meaningful employment opportunities for people with developmental disabilities - to create the kind of possibilities that contribute to the fullness of community life. Inclusion in community life today creates better communities for everyone tomorrow.

To date the Inclusion Alberta/Rotary Partnership has created more than 500 meaningful jobs for adults with developmental disabilities with an average wage of more than $15 per hour. Worksites include a wide array of companies from one-person businesses to large international firms ranging from office jobs to manufacturing and technology.  With the success of the Rotary Employment Partnership in Alberta the idea has expanded to other Canadian provinces and a number of countries.

Inclusion Alberta’s Rotary Employment Partnership was recognized internationally as a world leading innovation at the Zero Conference in Vienna, Austria by the ESSL Foundation in collaboration with the World Future Council and the International Labour Organization.  The ESSL Foundation advocates for the rights of persons with disabilities internationally and a world with zero barriers. 

We work in partnership to:

  • Create real jobs -- Rotary Clubs and members will work in partnership with Inclusion Alberta and the Government of Alberta to develop jobs for people with developmental disabilities within the business community. Together we explore the possibility of creating genuine and meaningful employment opportunities. Inclusion Alberta and the Government of Alberta link employers to potential employees with developmental disabilities. Inclusion Alberta and the Government of Alberta also provide the resources, expertise and on-the-job supports to ensure a successful outcome. Through the partnership, employers and employees will learn how to sustain and facilitate the successful inclusion of people with developmental disabilities in the workforce. Each Rotary Club partner sets its own commitment as to how many people with developmental disabilities they would hope to see employed during the course of the partnership.  Individual Rotary members may also consider the possibility of creating an employment opportunity for a person with developmental disabilities. Through this initiative there is the potential for Rotary Clubs and members to directly and personally make a powerful and wonderful difference in the life of a person with developmental disabilities.
  • Share the dream -- Rotary Clubs, in partnership with Inclusion Alberta and the Government of Alberta, through their community involvement and commitment, promote the employment of people with developmental disabilities. The highly respected community voice of Rotary are coupled with the voices of families who have sons and daughters with developmental disabilities.  The community needs to learn more about the potential of people with developmental disabilities and the value of creating real jobs.  The partnership develops resource materials (e.g., print ads, posters, brochures, radio ads, etc.) to be shared with the business and broader community through a variety of media.  These collaboratively developed public awareness materials highlight Rotary Clubs’ commitment to the employment of people with developmental disabilities.

Many individual examples of successful employment for people with developmental disabilities exist in Alberta.  People with developmental disabilities are working in offices, restaurants, stores and factories.  Canadian employers, for example from Canadian Tire to Winners, have repeatedly expressed the value of hiring people with developmental disabilities as being “good for business and not a social program”.  A wealth of community resources exist that have contributed to these successful outcomes, and are used in this Partnership. However, people with developmental disabilities still represent a large and untapped labour resource.  This is an unfortunate loss of human potential.  Through this partnership, Rotary Clubs and members have the opportunity to strengthen the community by helping to welcome people with developmental disabilities into the fullness of community life.

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About Rotary:

Rotary is an organization of business and professional leaders united worldwide, who provide humanitarian service, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations, and help build goodwill and peace in the world.  There are approximately 1.2 million Rotarians, members of more than 29,000 Rotary clubs in 161 countries.

About Inclusion Alberta: 

Inclusion Alberta (formerly The Alberta Association for Community Living) is a non-profit, voluntary association of more than 40 organizations from across Alberta representing the interests of children and adults with developmental disabilities and their families for almost half a century.

About the Government of Alberta:  

Provides the funding and supports to assist adults with developmental disabilities to live, work and participate in their communities as valued citizens.

To learn more about the Inclusion Alberta Rotary Employment Partnership, please contact:

Wendy McDonald, Executive Director, Employment & Development, Inclusion Alberta.  (780) 974-1310 wmcdonald@inclusionalberta.org

Trina Steed, Provincial Director of Employment, Inclusion Alberta.  780-451-3055 x426, tsteed@inclusionalberta.org

Bruce Uditsky, CEO Emeritus, Inclusion Alberta.  (780) 451-3055 ext. 407   buditsky@inclusionalberta.org