Facebook post lands woman with Down Syndrome a job
Published Monday, January 12, 2015 5:40PM EST Last Updated Monday, January 12, 2015 7:18PM EST
Finding a job in today's labor market is no easy feat. Add to that a disability and the challenge is even greater. Enter social media and a women's networking group and the story has a happy ending for one young Ottawa woman. For five years, Laura Gulick has wanted a job that could keep the 25-year-old busy and earn her a little money.
‘I don't want to just sit there, I’ll get bored at my house,’ Laura says.
‘You just seem to go in a loop,’ adds her mother Leslie, ‘a loop of nothing (looking for employment.)’
After watching her daughter getting increasingly frustrated, Leslie Gulick decided to post a message last week on the Facebook account of "Ladies who Lunch"; a networking group for business women in the Ottawa area.
‘I posted it at 11:19,’ recounts Gulick, ‘by 12:30 she had this job, within a couple hours, she had another one and it's been fantastic .That was Monday. She had two interviews last week and here it is one week later she's working.’
The first offer came from Joelle Rivington, who owns the Boomerang Consignment shop in Barrhaven. Joelle had an uncle with Down Syndrome.
‘So it hit a chord with me and it took me two seconds to email back and say I would love to offer Laura a job.’
Laura will also work three hours a week at Marianne’s Lingerie and Fashion Boutique in the Westgate Mall.
But it is not a rosy picture for people with disabilities. Anna-Karina Tabunar is producing a documentary, called “Talent Untapped” about this invisible, untapped talent pool. Her research shows that people with a disability have a 60% chance of being unemployed. This population forms the largest segment of the unemployed in Canada; 800,000 and growing.
Tabunar hopes stories like Laura’s will help put this sector of our population on the radar of employers.
‘Look beyond white cane,’ says Tabunar, ‘look beyond Down Syndrome or the developmental disability and look beyond the wheelchair because there is so much talent untapped.’
As of today, at least, there is one less person on that list of unemployed. Laura Gulick is already planning how to spend her hard earned cash.
‘When I get lots of money,’ explains Laura, ‘I will go to Hawaii or on a cruise.’