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January 30, 2017: Mike Colborne, the Rotary Employment Partnership.   Rotary Employment Partnership Overview

Steve Rickard introduced our guest speaker, Mike Colborne. Mike is CEO of four companies in the Pacific Western Transportation Group, which offers bus services such as Red Arrow Motorcoach, Southland School Buses and nine municipal transit systems. Operating in four provinces and the Yukon, they have 4,000 engaged employees and more than 3,000 buses.

Mike sits on several boards, including CAREERS: The Next Generation, a non-profit association raising youth awareness about rewarding careers in the trades. Mike is a member of the Calgary Downtown Rotary Club and he and his club, together with Inclusion Alberta (formerly AACL) and Human Services Alberta have formed a partnership: the Rotary Employment Partnership.

The objective of this partnership is to create employment opportunities for people with developmental disabilities. They particularly include intellectual disabilities and encourage RCCW to perhaps become more involved with them (Note: Pat Romerman is significantly involved) and assist in obtaining employment for someone who has a disability.

He noted that participation in this partnership does not require any financial commitment. Human Services provides funding and support to developmentally disabled people to live, work and participate in society. Rotary's role is to open doors and build connections.

Having a job is important to a disabled individual on so many levels: financial, self esteem and sense of belonging. 80% of the disabled in Alberta are unemployed, relying on government assistance and living marginalized lives. Those who have a job tend to be absolutely committed to it.

The partnership has created 440 jobs in Alberta since 2001, with 51 of them in Calgary. These jobs vary from labourer through data management and administrative roles. On average, obtaining a job results in a 44% increase in personal income. The benefits to employers include an enhanced reputation as an inclusive corporate citizen and loyal committed employees.

Pat Romerman thanked Mike for his informative, enlightening presentation, and gave him a Boltman, crafted from our own Karl Herzog's training endeavour, Motive Action..

  • Pat Romerman and Mike Colborne
    Pat Romerman and Mike Colborne

reported by Les Morgan

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