February 19th, 2015
Each year Community Living BC’s (CLBC) Widening Our World (WOW) Award recognizes the contributions and innovations of people who are working to build communities that are accepting of all abilities. This year’s awards theme focused on inclusive employment. As part of the three-year Community Action Employment Plan, British Columbians were asked to nominate employers who are hiring adults CLBC serves and creating positive, inclusive workplaces where everyone feels welcome, valued and respected.
Kris Krentz was nominated by his employee, Matthew Benjamin, who has worked at RONA since April 2014 with support the Chilliwack Society for Community Living. In his nomination, Matthew stated Krentz and the staff at RONA have embraced inclusion and provided him with the same work experience and expectations they would any other employee. He works two days a week stocking shelves and providing customer service, and credits his job with helping him to build confidence in all areas of his life.
In addition to Kris and his team, employers in Kamloops, Penticton and Vancouver are receiving WOW!clbc Awards this year. These employers were chosen from more than 80 nominations submitted province wide. These nominations were reviewed regionally and then by a provincial committee of individuals served by CLBC, community members, service providers and CLBC staff to determine the successful nominees.
Since 2009, CLBC has presented WOW Awards to recognize British Columbians who are creating opportunities and building awareness for a vision of full citizenship for people with developmental disabilities, one where they lead good lives, have rich relationships, choices in how they live and employment opportunities.
The Community Action Employment Plan is a collaborative strategy that promotes inclusive and supportive employment opportunities. Among other things, the plan supports coordination of local employment resources and community engagement with employers, government, service providers, volunteers, self advocates, families, community leaders and CLBC staff. To learn more about CLBC, WOW!clbc Award winners past and present, or the Community Action Employment Plan, visit www.communitylivingbc.ca
Minister of Social Development and Social Innovation Michelle Stilwell
“In B.C., we have the goal of becoming the most progressive place for people with disabilities in Canada. It’s great to see RONA getting this award. They are breaking down barriers to employment and recognizing that there is a business case for hiring from the disability community.”
MLA John Martin – Chilliwack
“I am so pleased that a Chilliwack employer has been recognized as a champion in hiring adults with disabilities. It’s clear that Kris and his team have developed a workplace that allows people to build on their skills, increase their self-confidence and gain greater independence.”
MLA Laurie Throness –Chilliwack-Hope
“It is terrific that Kris has been recognized for a WOW Award. I have seen first hand, how Kris and his team at RONA have experienced the benefits that hiring people with developmental disabilities has in the community. I encourage more businesses to follow in the footsteps of Kris and his team.”
Seonag Macrae, CLBC CEO
“I want to congratulate Kris and all of the WOW nominees for 2014. For many years, Community Living BC has been focused on increasing employment opportunities for individuals while at the same time working towards removing the barriers to hiring people with diverse abilities.”
Kris Krentz, Manager, RONA Chilliwack
“We have worked with the Chilliwack Society for Community Living to hire Matthew, who has become an important and integral part of the RONA team. Matthew is incredibly positive, hard-working and enthusiastic about his job. I would encourage all employers to consider the tangible and intangible benefits of inclusive hiring. “
Matthew Benjamin, RONA Employee and Nominator
“As I became more familiar with the store layout and the product I have become more confident and strive to learn and get even better at my job. I really enjoy working at Rona. The staff there is very nice and friendly. They have made me feel a part of the team from the start!”
Brenda Gillette, Executive Director, Chilliwack Society for Community Living (CSCL)
“CSCL provides employment supports for individuals with disabilities, building strong working relationships with employers, and ensuring there are tools for success and a good fit between employers and the potential employees. In the 25 years CSCL has done this work, what we’ve found that employers who work along side people with disabilities, like Kris Krentz and his staff, are the strongest champions of inclusive employment. Their support is critical to ensuring all people are recognized as fully participating citizens with gifts to bring to the community.”
Profile: Kris Krentz, Inclusive Employer, RONA
- Kris Krentz and his team are employers who are leveraging the talents of people with diverse abilities in Chilliwack to enhance their business growth, creating a win-win solution that provides a long-term job opportunity for adults with developmental disabilities.
- Kris and the team at RONA creating opportunities for leadership by providing hands-on training, supervisors are flexible as to how work gets accomplished and they provide encouragement, working alongside individuals and allowing them to determine their own successful work style to get the job done.
The Case for Inclusive Hiring
- A DuPont study showed that 82 per cent of workers who have a disability scored average or above average in performance ratings.
- A Harris study showed that 55 per cent of employers say that workers who have a disability work harder than other employees.
- Most job accommodations to help someone with a disability at work cost less than $500.
- According to the DuPont survey, 86 per cent of employees who have a disability have average to above average attendance records.
- Research shows 80 per cent of consumers prefer to support businesses with diverse workforces.
Community Living BC