Up To The Task! by Paul Seale
What if you had just days to master a job so you could teach it to others? Em Middleton met that challenge, learning quickly from the staff of the Old East Village Grocer. Home from studying Digital Audio Arts at the University of Lethbridge, Em’s one of a few students new to the store’s team this summer.
The OEV Grocer is a non-profit grocery store owned and operated by ATN Access for Persons with Disabilities. In addition to its role as a neighbourhood grocer, it’s a live classroom teaching job skills to people with barriers to employment. Hired as a job coach, Em teaches clients how to receive orders, rotate stock, prepare foods, or run a cash register.
“It’s rewarding,” Em says. “I watch my clients grow, become independent, and get ready for the workforce.”
There are other benefits, too. Students have their own workplace barriers when employers demand a good resume full of job experience. “Much like the clients we work with,” Em explains, “the student positions at the Grocer allow us to gain experience and learn in a safe environment so that we can then move on to achieving our long-term goals.”
We expect that, someday, we’ll see Em’s name next to “Music Production Editor” in the credits of a blockbuster movie. But, next up, it’s Residence Assistant at university, where Em will be helping people again. We’re confident that they are all in good hands.