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First day at work. First paid opportunity. First day of true freedom!

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Harsh at work

That’s a lot of firsts for anyone to experience, especially someone who has been out of school and is new to the job market.

Harsh is a graduate from the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) and new client to Next-Steps Employment Centre – Downsview.

He visited the centre with his mother seeking assistance and support with landing his first job. The staff at the centre completed an assessment, conducted a practice interview and offered life skills suggestions to help him adjust to all of the changes that accompany being employed (i.e. going to bed early, travelling independently, getting to work on time, following instructions, taking initiative, etc.).  The coaching and support ultimately connected him to an employer who saw the potential in Harsh and offered him an associate’s position at the opening of a new Select Sandwich retail store.

Harsh spent his first day on the job helping to get the store ready for the grand opening.  He was visited by Daisy, the Job Developer who found the position for him and was given additional support and training while completing the tasks. At the end of the day, he was not exhausted as a result of the physical labour; he was excited about his accomplishments and asked to learn more tasks, including working on the cash register and making sandwiches.

Keep in mind that Harsh has never been employed, never made a meal for himself, and for the past two years, he has kept his own schedule of watching TV, playing video games, and waking up whenever he wanted to!

The management and staff at Select Sandwich were pleased with Harsh’s positive can-do attitude and interest in learning more. So much so, that within the first week of being employed he was taught how to make sandwiches and prepare lunch items.

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Harsh with store managers Devi(L) and Rosalie(R)

Harsh’s story is not entirely unique to the many successes that Next-Steps Employment Centres experience and facilitate. But it is important to acknowledge that often times when society at large is slow to assist and recognize the skills in differently-abled people. Community service providers often recognize the strengths in others and use the resources at hand to promote and support diversity in the workplace.


Next-Steps Employment Centres have 7 locations in Toronto, Mississauga, and Vaughan providing FREE employment services for job seekers and employers. The centres are operated by the TDSB and funded by Employment Ontario.
More info at www.next-steps.ca

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