Creative Thinking Secures Custom Course for 9 Candidates

Kitchener, ON

Creative Thinking Secures Custom Course for 9 Candidates
The following story was written by CCRW's very own Jennie DiGirolamo, an Employment Facilitator located at our Kitchener office. We are proud to share this story as it showcases the lengths and creative thinking our staff go to support our candidates, the perseverance and motivation of our candidates, and the support from other staff and organizations. Thank you so much to Jennie, the CCRW team involved, and CATI Automotive Training Institute for accommodating these incredible and talented jobseekers through creative thinking and collaboration.

    Back in November, I was supporting a candidate who was struggling to find gainful employment in his field. The candidate has a visible limb difference, identifies as a person of colour, and is well qualified to work in the automotive industry – specifically in heavy trucks as a dispatcher, or in occupational health and safety. After months of interviews, interview preparation, training, and guidance, we were no further ahead than when we began. That’s when the candidate came to me with the opportunity to complete the automotive service operations specialist program. The program offered skill building in multiple cross sections of automotive industry and would open the job pool to three new job positions that he didn’t have access to before.

    There was only one problem. The course set a price point of just over the amount we had funding for. I thought, okay, not impossible to cover the cost difference above what we can normally fund, but tricky. However, the big issue was the time frame of the program. It was 22-weeks long, which is well above the timeframe we could supply. But I wasn’t ready to give up. This candidate had been nothing but positive over the 8 weeks I had been working with him. Rejection after rejection, and he kept trying. He kept showing up. So, I did the same.

    I connected with the school, CATI Automotive Training Institute and asked if we could discuss an opportunity for the candidate to perhaps take the same course at a reduced time frame. The school said no. Unfortunately, the only way that they could create a custom course would be if there was enough interest in a 12-week program to make it worth streamlining and re-writing the program and they would require a minimum of 8 people to make this feasible.

    I don’t want to assume that the candidate’s bad luck was related to their visible differences, however according to Justauto.com and multiple other sources, it’s clear that the automotive industry has been slow to embrace diversity and inclusion, and if there was a chance that my candidate faced barriers accessing work in the industry, there were likely to be other candidates registered with CCRW who experienced similar situations.

    So, I set to work. First discussing it with my supervisor, we determined how we may be able to support 8 people through our funding to access this training. Once we got the feedback that we might be able to make it work, I began contacting colleagues from all over CCRW and did some scouting.

    After a few days, I connected with the school and let them know that I felt it was a very good chance to be able to fill all 8 spots, they began creating the certificate curriculum and I began firming up candidates. Keep in mind that this was the end of December and we had Christmas break right around the corner, a deadline looming for funding.

    Thankfully we confirmed 1 candidate out of our Surrey location. 1 Candidate out of Pivot, 1 candidate through our Kitchener location, and 2 candidates out of New Brunswick. But we were short 3 candidates to achieve the final goal. We then put a blast out to all CCRW locations, and everywhere else we could think of. I put together a presentation delivered to multiple programs and out of that we received 2 more referrals, from our CCRW team in Vancouver, and one from CCRW in PEI. I had also blasted our community partners through email and ended up with two more candidates.

    Somehow, we made it. The day before the deadline we had our final numbers, rationales submitted and had determined each funding source. We had all candidates signed up and the school began registrations.

    The final tally was 9 candidates. In 5-weeks. 9 candidates from British Columbia to PEI. 9 candidates who showed up to their first day in class this past Monday, on time. 9 candidates who were supported through our creative thinking, and willingness to collaborate.

    I am so thankful to my colleagues. There was so much happening behind the scenes, from supervisors, managers, job developers, and every other Employment Facilitator that plugged the training, shared it with their networks, and just engaged with me. What an amazing thing to have been a part of. I feel so incredibly fortunate to be a part of a team of such phenomenal professionals.

    Thank you.

Special shoutout to CATI Automotive Training Institute for their accommodations and involvement in making this moment a success. At CCRW we are committed to providing a level of support and creative thinking that will help candidates achieve their goals.

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