STRIDE: an employment agency that makes the difference


Jane, an actual STRIDE client whose name was changed for privacy reasons, had little or no work experience and had no marketable CV or cover letter. With STRIDE, Jane worked on pre-employment activities including pre-employment workshops. STRIDE provided Jane with a bridging job as a housekeeper at STRIDE. Then, working with STRIDE’s employment development services, she got a similar job in the community at a local grocery store. STRIDE negotiated with the employer to provide the supports necessary for Jane to be successful, and to ease and remove any barriers associated with the job. Employed in a stable fashion, with regular positive feedback from her employer, Jane is fruitfully engaged, happy and productive: an active member of her community.

His hard work and determination with the support of STRIDE has created the kind of success STRIDE has with many of the more than 600 people they work with at any given time. Many are employed in banks, pharmaceutical or technology companies, among others, in a variety of roles, including managerial and executive positions.

Since 1983, STRIDE has been an integral part of the Oakville community. “Honestly everyone has been amazing. The services provided are excellent but what is really amazing is the staff. Every STRIDE employee I have interacted with has been kind, understanding and helpful. I really couldn’t ask for more, ”enthuses one STRIDE customer.

STRIDE is an employment agency with a difference: STRIDE specializes in helping people with mental health and addictions find employment. STRIDE’s Job Developer Network to connect with supportive employers. They help with curriculum vitae preparation and interview framing. And they do all of this with no time limit on how long they will be working with a client.

“Meaningful work is essential in the recovery of survivors of mental health and addiction. Thanks to it, individuals are better able to integrate and feel part of the community. Research has shown that this is essential in helping people cope with their problems. Work is a key part of recovery, ”says Anita Lloyd, CEO of STRIDE Employment Services.

STRIDE also facilitates a peer employment mentoring program, as well as other services to help clients find suitable positions, including their pre-employment program, to ensure employment preparation and a employment connection program for young people aged 16 to 24.

“United Way understands this. They have been a key partner in funding, networking and knowledge sharing, and helping to collaborate with other organizations in the United Way agency network that meet different needs at different stages, ”says Anita.

Everything you need to find a job, from job preparation, resume preparation and interview training, finding and organizing the accommodations needed to handle specific client requirements, in the same way as Accessibility accommodations are organized for physical disabilities.

Once the position has been found, STRIDE remains in contact with the client to manage any difficulties that may arise. At the request of the client, they can also work with the employer. “We work on issues such as punctuality, communication, assertiveness building, well-being at work and time management to ensure that the working relationship is productive and successful,” says Anita.

For STRIDE, the work is a step forward towards the reintegration of people facing mental health and addiction issues into the community. STRIDE stays involved with the client for as long as they want, helping them in any way they can.

STRIDE is an essential part of the health of Oakville as a community. Being a community means taking care of one another, Centraide’s goal. “United Way is essential to the effectiveness of STRIDE,” says Anita.

Many of us have charities that we support for personal reasons. However, there is a wide variety of needs in our community. Centraide goes to great lengths to identify these needs and find and help vital agencies with good processes to meet them. United Way funds mean these organizations can devote more of their resources to helping Oakville residents and fewer of them looking for money. As donors, we may not know the best way to distribute our donations, but donations of all sizes from many Oakville residents can be best used through United Way. And who knows when we, or someone close to us, will need help from one of these services. Our donations to the United Way ensure that they will all be there for us if that day comes.

Chris Stoate

Chris Stoate is a graduate of the University of Cambridge and the University of Toronto. He is interested in public education and has served on the board of the Halton Learning Foundation and the board of United Way. He was a city councilor for Ward 3-Oakville.

Read more about Chris Stoate

12 October 2021



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