Options Mississauga is a federally registered charity operating a social enterprise in the form of a retail printing and office services store. We support intellectually disabled adults in an inclusive community setting as they acquire the job skills they need to obtain employment. Each participant in our employment training program is provided with an individualized plan to acquire the specific skills they need to successfully obtain the kind of job they want. This training is integrated into our retail store operation so that participants engage in a "real" business as part of their training. This unique arrangement allows trainees to become familiar with business etiquette, serving customers and working with staff on a variety of jobs we do. The ultimate goal is to provide the tools: hard skills, familiarity with business operation and, perhaps most importantly, the confidence they need to then transition into community employment.
Options Mississauga provides innovation employment training strategies to individuals who have a intellectual disability to support their employment goals.
We believe that individuals who have a intellectual disability are entitled to full participation as members of a community. Full participation should include the opportunity to obtain employment in the community where their contributions are economically viable and sustainable
Our core program is a transitional employment training course described above. But we are also interested in developing innovative solutions to help mitigate the fact that unemployment among intellectually disabled adults in Ontario is about 75% and not appreciably improving. We believe one small piece of the solution is for sensitive, aware agencies like Options Mississauga (and many, many others in the community) to actively strategize to create part time paid employment for the people we support when at all possible. This is not "showcasing" or supported employment - it is choosing a intellectually disabled person to fill a specific job when this can be done efficiently. It may only be for a few hours a week, but the principle is the person must be able to do the job in an economic fashion and be worth the wages paid. There is a lot of evidence that a lack of a supportive workplace often is a major reason for failure to sustain employment among disabled people, and places like Options are perfect for this kind of opportunity (being a retail store interfacing with the community). This is also best accomplished as a business is growing, and Options wants as a major strategic goal to increase the number of intellectually disabled actually employed by us significantly over the next year. Finally, Options is always looking for other ways to engage the people we support in vocational activities, particularly those who realistically are not going to obtain and sustain competitive employment (which is the majority). We have recently undertaken a pilot Arts Program where interested individuals have created art for Christmas Cards, calendars, and other similar items (which Options then prints and sells in our retail store. The results have been encouraging - creativity is NOT correlated with intelligence and this may offer a way for people to become vocationally involved where few other options exist.
Options has been in business for 25 years and has consistently provided quality printing products at competitive prices. We also provide the kind of individual customer service that is rare in today's retail environment. But best of all, by using us for your printing needs you are not only get the printing products you want, but every dollar you spend directly supports our mission. It is a unique "double bottom line" value proposition that our customers find irresistible.
Options has currently undergone a transition now offering a new intensive employment-training program and employment to our trainees.
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