Community Development

Funding level: $50,000 to $100,000


Sheltered Workshop to Skill Enhancement program is inspired by people who have a developmental disability and who have worked in a sheltered workshops for over 30 years. This is an innovative and creative approach to address the closure of sheltered workshops in Ontario. Sheltered Workshop to Skill Enhancement program will build basic literacy and employment skills for people who have worked in sheltered workshops for most of their lives. Our main objective through this new program is to help isolated people build their basic literacy and employment skills so that they have the capacity to find their place in the community.

On November 2015, Barbara Simmons, Director of the Ministry's Community Supports Policy Branch, said Sheltered Workshops will be closed. This has been a huge challenge as Community Living Burlington still owns and operates ARC Industries; where 80 participants are involved in the production of contracts. Many of our workers have worked at ARC for more than 30 years (some more than 40 years) and have had limited life experience. ARC is all that they know and with no available programs in Halton that can help build their skills this population is vulnerable to remain isolated.

To enhance social participation and inclusion for this population we will be partnering with the Halton Catholic District School Board (HCDSB) who will develop a curriculum that will teach basic literacy and employment skills that people need to function effectively in society. Several modules of in-class training will include literacy and basic skills, numeracy, social skills, computer skills, basic employment skills and self-determination skills. These learnings will be tracked through a pre-/post survey and assessments completed by an Ontario Certified Teacher. Classes will be held at Corpus Christi Secondary School in Burlington.

People who have a developmental disability and who have spent most of their lives working in a sheltered workshop have not had the chance to interact in a social setting or have many friends. This new project will allow this isolated group of people the opportunity to learn new skills, with new people and in a new environment. 40 people who have a developmental disability will enhance their skills and publish a newsletter through in-class training over the course of one year.

Furthermore, this new project will allow people who have a developmental disability the opportunity to work with volunteers and students which will create a win-win situation. For a person with a developmental disability, new relationships will help to ease the isolation, disempowerment or loneliness that often deepens the challenges that he or she faces daily. By having a volunteer, people with developmental disabilities are able to explore their world with a peer who brings empathy, laughter and support.

Expected results include:
1) Skill enhancement for 40 people who have worked at ARC Industries
2) A quarterly newsletters will be developed, written and published and led by people who have a developmental disability
3) 1000 volunteer and student hours will be tracked. At least 4 new volunteers and/or students will help to execute the project

Broker supported

Community Living Burlington

Location: Burlington