The BC Employment Network (BCEN) formally kicked off as the “Employment Training Network” in 2007 after many months of informal networking among agencies from around the Lower Mainland. The Network worked hard in the early years to establish the curriculum for the four courses that are delivered throughout BC (and occasionally in other provinces) today.
Janice Barr was Executive Director for the Richmond Society for Community Living at the time the Network was founded. “In the early days, there was a lot of work among the Network partners and other groups around the province. The work was never intended only to benefit our own organizations – it was intended to support people with developmental disabilities across the province.”
“Employment has been the frontier for inclusion services for the past two decades. Today, employment is becoming mainstream for people with developmental disabilities. BC Employment Network have been key provincial leaders in this shift,” noted Jack Styan, VP Strategic Initiatives and Shelley Gerber, Provincial Employment Coordinator, CLBC.
"Advancing the employment aspirations of youth and adults with intellectual disabilities is at the heart of the BCEN. Collaboration is a very effective strategy to discover solutions to complex challenges", says Dan Collins, CEO of Inclusion Langley Society. The members of the BCEN have repeatedly demonstrated that when we work together, we are agents for positive change and growth.
Delta Community Living Society CEO Anita Sihota adds “the Network has proven to be a wonderful collaboration towards our shared goal of encouraging and supporting individuals to secure and maintain employment. The BCEN will be working with partners on hosting the World Employment Conference in 2023 along with continuing to provide employment training across the Province.”
BCEN, CASE and Inclusion BC co-host the “Second World Supported Employment Conference” in Vancouver
The Network partners with CLBC to deliver Employment Training across the Province for the next three years
Cranbrook Society for Community Living joins BCEN
Eight BCEN partners kick off the three-year IMPACT Employment Research Project for Youth with Disabilities with funding from the BC Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction
Semiahmoo House Society joins BCEN
Community Living Society joins BCEN
BCEN partners with CLBC to deliver 6 Employment Training events across the Province
BCEN hosts “Transforming Day Services – Take 3” and “Youth Employment Summit” in Vancouver
BCEN co-hosts the CASE Conference in Victoria
The Network is renamed the “British Columbia Employment Network” and introduces its logo
The Network publishes “The Launching Pad: Exploring Micro-Enterprises for People with Developmental Disabilities”
The Network partners with Douglas College to deliver Employment Training
“Re-inventing Day Supports Take 2” Event in Burnaby
Pilot of Course #4: Marketing presented for the first time
Course #2: Supported Self Employment and Course #3: Customized Employment presented for the first time
New members joined; AimHi, British Columbia Association for Community Living, Community Living British Columbia, Community Living Victoria, Mainstream Association for Proactive Community Living, Powell River Association for Community Living.The Network is renamed the “British Columbia Employment Strategy”.
BCEN hosts “Re-Inventing Day Supports” Event in Richmond
Course #1: Supported Employment presented for the first time
The Network partners with Kwantlen University College to deliver Employment Training
First official meeting of the “Employment Training Network” with the six founding partner agencies: Burnaby Association for Community Inclusion,Chilliwack Association for Community Living,Delta Community Living Society,Langley Association for Community Living, North Shore Disability Resource Centre, and Richmond Society for Community Living.