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Richmond job fair offers opportunities for those with disabilities

A job fair is taking place at Lansdowne Centre on Aug. 19.
The Richmond Centre for Disability is looking for volunteers for their new online programs.

Richmond Centre for Disability (RCD) is highlighting the importance of job opportunities for people with disabilities and a local store manager could not agree more.

A job fair will be held on Aug. 19 at Lansdowne Centre in collaboration with RCD where 20 to 30 organizations will be looking to hire people with disabilities.

Karen Kamachi, manager of RAPS Thrift Store, said the job fair is not only a chance for people with disabilities to find a job to gain work experience and other skills, it also helps build their confidence in the real world.

Kamachi has worked with people with disabilities for 30 years and has partnered with RCD to provide them with employment opportunities.

Many recent high school graduates with disabilities have been able to gain work at RAPS Thrift Store, thanks to Kamachi.

“I got (kids) into a couple of work programs (at RAPS Thrift Store) where they got work experience,” she said. “That way, they’ll be able to leave here with experience and skills that they can offer to future employers.”

It also allows them to feel they are “worthy of employment” and given the chance to figure out “what their mission is in this life.”

“Everybody deserves that opportunity.”

Kamachi also has children with disabilities, which makes the issue more personal for her.

The upcoming job fair, she said, aims to show the public the value people with disabilities bring to the table.

Kamachi told the Richmond News many employers aren’t willing to accommodate people with disabilities.

“In order to be successful, you have to have opportunities, but those (with disabilities) have even less opportunities,” she said.

“Accommodations are often needed to match the disability, and (employers) think it is very difficult.

“I think the only way to overcome that stigma, is by having projects … where we bring people in, give them the opportunity to be successful, and put them back into the workforce with the needed skills.”