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Lucas’ story: celebrating Disability Employment Awareness Month at the U of R

By University Advancement and Communications Posted: October 28, 2021 2:00 p.m.

Uzochi Ifeanyiukachu, Lucas Faye’s job coach, and Lucas at the Ministry of Justice and Attorney General.
Uzochi Ifeanyiukachu, Lucas Faye’s job coach, and Lucas at the Ministry of Justice and Attorney General. Photo: provided by 4to40

October is Disability Employment Awareness Month, a month for Canadians to recognize and promote the contributions and inclusion of people with disabilities in the workplace. Since persons experiencing disabilities face many barriers to employment, this month provides an opportunity to create awareness, and take action around removing these barriers. 

In 2015, the University of Regina’s Campus for All initiative partnered with Creative Options Regina (COR) to form the 4to40 initiative which connects people experiencing a disability with forward-thinking employers who embrace a flexible 4 to 40 hour work week. Since then, Campus for All graduates have been connected with meaningful employment that is customized for each individual.

Lucas Faye is one of those success stories. 

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Lucas at his 2020 graduation.
Credit: Photo provided by
Campus for All.

Faye graduated from the University of Regina in 2020, and shortly afterward was hired as a Program Assistant in the Access and Privacy Branch at the Ministry of Justice and Attorney General. This branch was recently awarded a Deputy Minister’s Award for their hiring through the 4to40 program. Lucas says that he learned computer skills, communication skills, and how to be more independent during his time in Campus for All, which helps him in his position at the Ministry of Justice. 

“I do sorting, filing, and data input. My favourite thing about my job is working on spreadsheets and visiting with others,” says Faye. 

Aaron Orban is the Executive Director of the Access and Privacy Branch, and he was initially connected with 4to40 when his branch was experiencing an increased workload and a few staff vacancies. Lucas was then hired to support the processing of access to information files and do data entry for records management. 

“He started doing the work on day one with the help of his job coach. He’s really taken to the position and he’s really kept up to the pace of the office,” says Orban. “Lucas a very social person, and his energy and enthusiasm have been a really great addition to the team. His spirit really rubs off on people.” 

Orban says he would highly recommend hiring a new employee through the 4to40 initiative. 

“I’m really glad that we had this opportunity to get involved with the program,” says Orban. “It has been such a great experience for everybody. You are a better person when you’re around a person like Lucas, he’s just a really good human being. On the days when he is here, there is a more positive energy in our branch.” 

“Both Campus for All and Creative Options Regina work with people experiencing intellectual disability. Campus for All provides inclusive post-secondary education supports, and Creative Options Regina provides home and other supports,” says Faith Savarese, Campus for All Coordinator. 

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Lucas with his colleague Kelsey Siemens
at the Ministry of Justice and Attorney
General. Photo provided by Aaron Orban

Campus for All supports a maximum of 12 students at a time, and there are three pillars that guide the initiative. In the Academic pillar, each student audits one class of their choice per semester, related to their interests and career goals. They participate in each class and complete regular or modified assignments and exams. 

Under the Social Connections pillar students participate in University life, going to events such as orientation, open houses, Welcome Week, and Rams and Cougars games. They also join campus clubs and become Student Ambassadors. 

In the Employment pillar, students create resumes put together portfolios documenting their university experience and learn employment-related skills. They are then hired in jobs that are customized by the employer for each individual. Every 4to40 hire starts work with a job coach who assists them in learning the job tasks and employer expectations and with getting used to the workplace culture. The job coach stays with them until they are able to work independently in their new position. 

Students supported by Campus for All graduate from the University of Regina after four years or having participatory audited 8 courses. 

“We want them to have meaningful days, and we want them to have meaningful lives. For most people, part of that is working. Whether you’re working full time or part time, you’re in the workplace and you’re in an inclusive environment where people care about you,” says Savarese. “It’s about building an inclusive life for that individual after university.” 

“I am lucky that in 2016 I was picked to go into Campus for All. I enjoyed making new friends and working with my helpers, professors, and other students,” says Faye. “It was fun to learn new things.” 

The University has committed to creating a healthy campus community and learning environment in its 2020-25 strategic plan All Our Relations, or kahkiyaw kiwȃhkomȃkȃninawak in Cree. Well-being and Belonging is one of the five areas of focus in the plan, with three interconnected objectives within it: Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion; Healthy Living; and Mental Health Literacy and Research.

 

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