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Vernon Home Depot wins Inclusion Award

With a focus on employing people living with developmental disabilities, it’s the second year Home Depot has been nominated and their first win.
(Left to right): Paul Gislason of District Human Resources, Home Depot’s Justin Funk and Sherry Harder, Chairperson for North Okanagan Shuswap Community Council Colleen Larson, Integrated Services Manager for Community Living British ColumbiaJennifer Love, Human Resources Manager Linda DeGroot and Home depot employee Drew Derosier (front) celebrate Home Depots first win. (Brieanna Charlebois/ Morning Star)

As part of Community Inclusion month, the Vernon Home Depot has been recognized for their inclusivity among their employees.

This is the third year that Community Living B.C.’s Community Council has given out inclusive employer awards to businesses who are inclusive in their hiring practices, with a focus on employing people living with developmental disabilities.

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Nominated for the second year in a row, Home Depot is being recognized as an inclusive employer who welcomes everyone of all abilities. This is Home Depot’s first win. They were nominated through the local agency Vernon and District Association for Community Living with the support of Home Depot employee Justin Funk.

“I worked at this store for two and a half years and I couldn’t have asked for a better place to work,” said employee Drew Derosier. “I really enjoyed my time here and I didn’t feel like I had a disability.”

Colleen Larson, Community Council Chair for the North Okanagan Shuswap said that that’s exactly what the award’s about.

“Our council are made up from people all over the Okanagan. We set a goal for the year — like a work plan — and three years ago we decided to give an award to employers in the community who give jobs to people with disabilities. So we created the award and this year we got about 10 nominees. The winners were Home Depot in Vernon and there was a security company in Salmon Arm,” said Larson. “It’s about treating people with disabilities as employees and not as a person with a disability.

“We chose to focus on employment because, as you can see with Drew, employment is a big part of his life — he has an income and he’s apart of the community and his peers made a big contribution to his life and foster a feeling of belonging,” said Larson’s colleague Jennifer Love.

Nominations for next year will open in the spring.

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