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Abilities Centre Employment Services offer a range of accessible training virtually and in-person for people of all abilities.
Leadership in Training (LiT) is an 11-week curriculum-based program addressing functional academics, life skills and a variety of employability skills.


COVID-19 Challenges and Program Impact

Due to COVID-19, LiT moved to virtual delivery with a modified 11-week virtual program, allowing for individuals to access the program from outside of Durham Region. Additionally, AC partnered with the Toronto District School Board to offer the LiT program to a class of deaf and hard of hearing students at the Drewry Secondary School.

Caregiver quote in a magenta bubble: The main reason participant wanted to take the course was so that they could learn leadership skills to give them more experience to be a camp counselor whenever the day camps reopen.  They had no idea they would learn so many things about how to navigate conversations, and skills for transitioning to College, and transitioning from College to the workplace. I think the participant really benefited from the continual opportunity to share their knowledge, opinion and experience to their fellow peers in a safe environment.  They said no one criticized them or laughed at their responses. They said their fellow peers were very mature and respectful of others.  They said after a few weeks they felt less shy and more capable of participating when they were called upon.  I think they became confident enough to even volunteer their answers or experience.
Throughout the program, the participants brought a positive attitude and an excited energy to each session. They have reflected on their goals for the future and recognized their passions and strengths. Each participant has expressed their future ambitions with confidence and are planning  how they may achieve their goals. Many will be continuing their journey to connect to the labour market through Abilities Centre’s  EmployAbilities program.

Participant quotes in a magenta bubble: I think I learned that there is no shame in asking questions and sharing your own ideas. I think I have become more courageous in answering questions   – LiT Participant  I have became more of a leader and became more confident since the program   – LiT Participant  LiT has changed me is that I now have a natural instinct to become a leader. I have become more assertive and can get my point across. I have also been able to make plans better for my future with setting SMART goals for myself.   – LiT Participant
Pie chart representing 20 participants and 150 virtual sessions in circles connected to an image of hands typing on a computer

Caregiver quote: They were happy to make friends and liked their question and answer part of it also.  I saw a difference in their ability to listen better and to think of ways to trouble shoot.  Their self-esteem was already good but they felt even better about themselves after LIT.  I see a difference in their listening skills.  They has also expressed that they may attend College in the near future.  This is something I have tried to talk them into for 2 years and they had no confidence in themselves to be able to do it.  Something changed since LIT.  They really enjoyed the LIT and looked forward to it every day.  They even learned to work the program.   Thank you for providing this program to our Children/Adults.   – Caregiver of LiT Participant


Abilities Centre developed an 9-week pre-employment workshop for individuals who identify as living with a disability, and a 6-week workshop in partnership with Ontario Shores for individuals with mental health diagnoses. The focus of the workshop is on assisting individuals with developing the pre-employment/soft skills needed to transition into today’s workplace.

Participant quote: My experience in the program was very good. It was pretty fun. I like all my other group mates and the instructors were good. It was nice having something to do Tuesdays and Thursday morning. I definitely grew a bit during the program. An example of that would be that I wasn’t as comfortable as I am now speaking in front of the class or public speaking in general was always hard for me I would always get so anxious and nervous that I would end up crying. Now I’m a lot more confident in speaking publicly or in front of the class and I don’t get as anxious as I did before
Embedded within the EmployAbilities programming, are activities such as;
  •  My Personal Mission Statement –participants reflect on the roles they play in their lives, goals, values, and interests
  • SMART Goals Book Cover –participants reflect on their goals for work and what they see themselves doing in the future
  • Something About Me –participants identify what other people say they are great at, when they feel happy, something they are proud of, and something that is unique about them
  • My Bridge Journey –participants reflect on how they felt before the program, during the program and after completing the program.
Have been identified as providing opportunities to follow the participants growth in meeting certain skill or goals. 

My Bridge Journey Participant Example:

Image of my bridge journey activity. A bridge in the centre with  participant was before starting the program, to the left a smily face below reads: I didn't know how to share my screen. The challenge the overcame during the program: I did an interview with me classmates. and the future goals: To get a job and be a better me.   Other comments on the right: I Feel confident and more knowledgable.

Screenshot image of my favourite things activity.   Title at the top: My favourite thing bout Employabilities was...  three rows of squares, the first  3 square in pink with black text:   Seeing my old friends, Learning new things, meeting new people.   Middle row of boxes the first one yellow then pink read:   Trying new things, and sandwich email.  Third row of box first one is yellow then blue read:   Watching everyone do interviews and be the leader of activities, Laughing with the group and having fun.
Following EmployAbilities 11-week program participants are asked to complete a survey to evaluate experiential aspects of participants, subjective change in confidence, skill improvement and ability to reach their goals.

EmployAbilities participants feel a sense of belongingness and meaning following the program. Participants feel their goal setting, problem solving and resiliency skills have improved and 88.9% of participants feel they are ready to meet their goals after participating in the program.
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