Scotty Boeyenga started working at Driving Force in Edmonton as a detailer 13 years ago. He shows up to work early every day and is known to make you smile if you’re having a bad day. Everyone in the business considers him a model employee.

Scotty has a developmental disability and was hired on at Driving Force as part of a Rotary Employment Partnership through Inclusion Alberta. But not everyone with a developmental disability who wants to work is able to find employment. Around 80 per cent of those with a developmental disability in Alberta are unemployed or underemployed.

“The time where industry can think that people with disabilities don’t add value is over,” said Mark Nolin, the president of Driving Force. “Don’t be scared that this will somehow hinder your operations.”

"We need employers to open their hearts and their doors"

Scotty's story is just one of the many success stories, but there is so much more to do. Around 80 per cent of people with developmental disabilities in Alberta are either unemployed or underemployed. It’s a staggering statistic Inclusion Alberta and the Rotary Employment Partnership, along with support from the provincial government, are trying to change.

The partnership creates employment opportunities for Albertans with developmental disabilities. Since the first job through the partnership in 2001, nearly 500 jobs have been created.

Many employers approach Inclusion Alberta with concerns about safety and whether they will have to spend more one-on-one time with their new hire than usual. Those involved in the partnership are trying to eliminate stereotypes and negative myths associated with hiring someone with a developmental disability.

Having a job offers a sense of accomplishment, a chance to contribute to society and to earn a living. Those at Inclusion Alberta want to make sure those with developmental disabilities have that opportunity, too.