The Penticton & Wine Country Chamber of Commerce (new window) were preparing to move their office to a new location, but with only four staff members who have the responsibility of serving 570 chamber members, they couldn’t afford to spend all their time preparing for the big move.
They needed an extra staff member.
Brandy Maslowski, the Executive Director, decided to turn to the Neil Squire Society’s Working Together (new window) program to fill the role — she had heard of the organization while building connections with the community.
Meanwhile, Ben was looking for employment. He has autism (new window) and little prior work experience.
“[It’s] hard to understand social situations, organizing my time [is a challenge],” he explains.
It turned out to be a perfect fit. With the help of the Working Together wage subsidy, the Penticton & Wine Country Chamber of Commerce was able to hire Ben.
“We would not have had a summer student if it were not for the wage subsidy program,” Brandy explains. “Ben single-handedly packed up our entire office for the relocation over the summer and then unpacked it in the new location.
“Ben was sincerely a bright addition to our office. He added charm, a hilarious, open attitude and actually taught us more than we taught him. [. . .] He proved to be a very valuable employee to our team.”
For Ben, it was a chance to get some valuable on-the-job experience — while getting paid, of course.
“I have something to put on my resume, [it] gave me more confidence to work in the future,” Ben says.
Brandy doesn’t hesitate when asked what she would tell other businesses about the Working Together program.
“I would absolutely recommend this program to other businesses. No question,” she says.