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Self Employment Training Program Workshops

Angela:"The BOSS course was a huge stepping stone towards my knowledge and confidence to be a successful business owner."

Chris:"I would tell anyone going into business to get into EPSS Self Employment Training Program – awesome tools."

Kristine:"Very informative & changed my opinion of social media."

Opportunity Fund

Shannon's Story

Shannon was referred to EPSS as she was recently separated from her husband of 23 years and had been on Income Support for over 20 years. Shannon stated that her barrier to employment was arthritis in her feet; she had not been employed since she was a teenager as a result. Shannon knew that she could not support herself forever on Income Support, however she was very scared to move forward and couldn't see herself being able to work enough to support herself financially.

When she came to EPSS, Shannon started out slowly by volunteering one hour a week. Because the pain in her feet was interfering with her abilities, she was able to access the Opportunities Fund to purchase a supportive pair of shoes. These shoes helped Shannon so much that after a few months she decided she would volunteer for another agency for another hour a week. During this time Shannon worked very hard on improving her personal presentation and communication skills. She paid attention to what her volunteer supervisors were telling her and worked on improving her work skills and ethics. Shannon explored different job options however had her heart set on working at a certain retail outlet.

She was persistent and reapplied to that outlet once a month until her resume came to the top and she was called for an interview. Shannon gained part time employment in November 2010. She was able to obtain enough hours to meet her needs, and in the spring of 2011, Shannon was no longer on Income Support. As of February 2012, she remains employed part time and is able to independently support herself.

Employment Innovation Project (EIP)

Ricky's Story

Ricky participated in EIP through EPSS from June 2009 to June 2011 after he was referred to the project by Alberta Works Income Support.

Ricky entered the project with several barriers to employment. He had a physical disability due to a work related injury that caused him continual pain, and was excessively using prescription medication pain in addition to his use of alcohol and non-prescription drugs. He only had a Grade 8 education level with no computer skills, minimal supports and resources, not to mention a criminal record. To many people, this would have seemed insurmountable.

During his two year time period with EIP, the main objective was to support Ricky with establishing connections with services/resources and staying focused on the end goal of being stabilized to the point where he could seek and achieve employment.

During his participation in the project, several options were explored with Ricky to give him the best odds of success. Ricky participated in some basic computer workshops, was offered help obtaining his GED, and was assisted in his job search. Ultimately, Ricky's continued excessive misuse of his prescriptions and other drugs diminished his ability to participate fully in the offered workshops and programs. EPSS adjusted strategies to best help Ricky deal with this overwhelming barrier to success and assisted him in reaching out to pain management clinics and treatment facilities, in addition to supporting him as he worked with the Workers Compensation Board to carry through with those plans.

Since Ricky has exited the program, he has maintained contact with EPSS and has updated that he is no longer using prescription medication and has not used illicit drugs or alcohol for over a year. He has since received nerve block treatment for his injury and no longer experiences daily pain. He has invested in a company and is seeking other meaningful activities to participate in, which may be employment. Rick is also looking at the option of going back to school for a field where he is able to mentor and support others who struggle with the same issues he dealt with.


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