Inclusive Employment Programs

Everyone Makes a Contribution

Barriers to employment can be broken down. Meaningful work happens when individuals are valued for their skills and contribution to furthering business productivity and goals. We work closely with both participants and workplaces on an ongoing basis. Our goal is to empower potential employees and equip businesses to sustain an inclusive and productive workplace.


Having Inclusive Rewarding Employment (H.I.R.E.) helps ready-to-work individuals overcome barriers to employment. In addition to those with visible disabilities, approximately 20% of the workforce have a hidden disability or limitation. Without what are often simple accommodations, this segment faces hurdles to finding meaningful work. 

This program is best suited for participants from 16 years of age to retirement to achieve 3 key outcomes:

  • develop skills and techniques to overcome barriers
  • feel confident in one's self and skills
  • make valued contributions to their workplace

Inclusion Foothills designed the H.I.R.E. program with a "whole person" approach. We help to identify each participant's personality, talents, interests and match those with the most suitable type of work and positions. We look to create paths for long term career growth over individual positions.

Teen in wheelchair receiving certificate

To create success, H.I.R.E. is hands-on. Throughout the program, participants work on both personal, technical and life skill development:

  • Personal development skills include stress management and confidence building
  • Technical development skills include assistance with education, skills and work experience
  • Life skills development skills include resume and cover letter writing, landing an interview, and interviewing

Confidence-building is enhanced by having to go through all the steps with the support of Inclusion Foothills' Career Coaches. At the end of the program, participants will be prepared to find, secure and maintain worthwhile work for the rest of their career.

JOBZ Centres are located in High River and Okotoks.

Partially funded by Government of Canada


H.I.R.E. Participant

"I initially came into the H.I.R.E. program to seek help on finding and maintaining employment. I had extremely low confidence and also had a lot of anger issues. Since taking this course my self-esteem went from 8% to 100%. I now have a purpose in life and I feel really confident about myself and where I’m going." 

The question isn't who is going to let me; the question is who is going to stop me.

Ayn Rand

Young workers at Farmers' Market

High River Farmers' Market

Weekly shopping local at the High River Farmers' Market is enjoyed by many during the summer months. What happens behind the scenes is an integral part of the H.I.R.E. and Y.E.W. employment programs. 

Program participants are given an opportunity to work the Market from open to close with duties including general set up, crowd management, interacting with the public, promoting a positive experience, and take down. 

Throughout their employment at the Market, participants are challenged to meet the demands of the public, vendors, and their employer. In addition, participants are able to network and build relationships. Vendors may have ongoing employment opportunities or refer participants to other business they may know.

This hands-on experience enhances participants' resumes and sets them up for success in future employment.

Washing dishes in restaurant


H.I.R.E. Participant

"I found that during my time involved with the hire program, my H.I.R.E. representative took into consideration all of my concerns/disabilities and of course my age.  H.I.R.E. staff, my rep, exercised patience and optimism at every step, and in doing so found an employment match for me. Thank you for your unwavering support."

Inclusion involves creating, fostering, and sustaining practices and conditions that encourage and allow each of us to be full ourselves--with our differences from and similarities to those around us-- as we work together.


Past Programs

While these programs are no longer available, they helped many with their employment journey.


Y.E.W. ended in March 2023. Please consider our H.I.R.E. program.

The Youth Engaging Workplaces Project (Y.E.W.) replaced JOBz as Inclusion Foothills’ youth focused employment program. Participants aged 16-24 undertook 12 weeks of training to develop both soft and technical employment skills. Youth advanced from unemployed and confused about employment to being an informed, motivated potential employee in a local business or organization.

By tailoring coursework to experience, career goals and individual factors, youth were better positioned to find purposeful work. In addition to gaining employment, they also developed self awareness, confidence, effective communication, and time management skills to last a lifetime.

Over the 3 month program, participants took part in targeted meetings as well as working in small, innovative groups and formed new inclusive and diverse social circles. They became comfortable using different technology mediums and meeting in-person.

Teen doing office work

Work-Life-Balance Project

Pathway to Mental Wellness and Inclusive Employment

The Work-Life Balance Project ended in March 2023. Please consider our H.I.R.E. program

The Work-Life-Balance Project started in 2021 in response to a need to prepare participants for meaningful employment within changing economic times and market trends.

Our hope was for individuals experiencing barriers to employment or who may have been at-risk to become more adaptable, resilient, and informed after completing the Project through:

  • a comprehensive mental health focus
  • developing one’s mental wellbeing and capacity
  • developing soft and hard skills
  • assisting with the identification of strengths, weaknesses and accommodations

Participants felt empowered to to obtain and retain employment, which in turn, reduced their future dependency on services and programs such as Alberta Works, Employment Insurance, and AISH (Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped).

The Province of Alberta is working in partnership with the Government of Canada to provide employment support programs and services.

Partially funded by Governments of Canada and Alberta
Hearing dog waiting patiently
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