How It All Began
In 1985, SCE LifeWorks was established by parents of individuals who lived with intellectual disabilities, together with engaged community members.
Dissatisfied with the range of existing options for their sons and daughters, they had a dream of alternative services which would not only provide their children with opportunities and participation in mainstream life, but which would support people in contributing their own skills, abilities and resources to society.
These parents envisioned a community based service that would provide individualized supports and services based on each participant's unique needs, interests, and long term career plans. They also recognized the vital role of supported individuals and their families in the planning and ongoing input in the development of individualized program plans.
A concern was expressed that some participants might be denied access to services due to the degree of their disability. Consequently, the parents developed a "zero rejection" policy, which meant that no individual would be denied access to programs based on the level of support required as long as funding was available to provide safe support. Zero rejection is now a cornerstone policy of our program.
Another significant policy developed out of parental concern, is a
"follow-up" and "bridgeback" policy. This guaranteed on-going supports and retraining of graduates, when required. This lifelong access to supports also is a cornerstone policy.
It was decided that the services of the organization would include:
· individualized, consumer directed planning with assistance
from support network
· supported employment
· access and support to continuing education
· access and support to recreation/leisure activities
· access and support for physiotherapy, speech therapy, etc.
· access to ongoing follow-up support service
Given the extent of services, funding from the Department of Family Services, alone, would not cover the start-up costs, nor meet the support needs of program participants. The Board of Directors was successful in accessing additional funding from the Manitoba Marathon and Human Resources Development Canada.
In June 1987, with a staff of six, SCE LifeWorks began a program of individualized community-based work placements, a mobile work crew and an individualized support program.
In 1988, SCE LifeWorks approached Human Resources Development Canada (then named Canada Employment and Immigration Commission CEIC) to investigate the possibility of funding a "Severely Employment Disadvantaged" training program. The new approach to employment training outlined in this proposal was as follows:
1. SCE LifeWorks would access vacant jobs in a community business that matched an individual’s interests and choices,
2. A job coach would provide individualized on-the-job instruction, training and support,
3. Following the training phase, SCE LifeWorks would continue to provide on-going support to ensure successful job retention,
4. If a supported individual should lose his/her job, the bridgeback policy guaranteed further job placement and training.
From this point the programs have developed and grown to meet the changing needs of our client base and community. Parents and family members of supported individuals continue to play an active role in the governance of the organization.