By Jim Timlick
Epic Opportunities recently took part in a Government of Canada initiative that helps students gain hands-on experience while assisting not-for-profit organizations and other community institutions.
For the third year in a row, Epic Opportunities participated in the federally-funded Canada Summer Jobs program. The program provides wage subsidies to employers to create employment opportunities for secondary and post-secondary students. The objective of the program is to provide students with hands-on work experience while supporting organizations that provide important community services.
Thanks to the Canada Summer Jobs grant it received, Epic Opportunities was able to hire Cam Eason this summer to fill the role of Community Outcomes Assistant as part of its Human Resources team. Eason is currently studying Creative Communications at Red River College.
HR Generalist Chantal Dionne says participating in the Canada Summer Jobs program has been a win-win situation for both Epic Opportunities and the community. It helps the organization to better connect with the community it serves while giving students an opportunity to gain experience in their chosen field of work.
Equally important, Dionne says, is the fact that it’s an opportunity for Epic Opportunities to help increase awareness of the important work the organization does.
“It helps students who have not had any experience in the disability support field to really gain an understanding of what we do here, make a connection with the people we serve and talk with people in the community about the work we do,” she says.
As part of his duties, Eason assisted Epic Opportunities’ Human Resources team with a variety of tasks including helping organize a series of activities in recognition of Direct Support Professionals Week, planning the organization’s annual holiday gala and service awards and pre-screening prospective employees. He also represented the organization at number of public events, including a July 30 meet-and-greet with federal MP Robert-Falcon Ouellette, and played a key role in encouraging local businesses to donate prizes for the annual An Evening With Epic fundraiser slated for Thurs., Nov. 1 at the Victoria Inn.
“My experience at Epic has benefited me in so many ways,” says Eason, adding how much he appreciates the creative freedom he was allowed by Epic Opportunities staff. “I learned a lot in terms of time management and how to apply the skills I learned in school on a daily basis. It also helped me with face-to-face communications on a business level.
“It’s such a comfortable workplace to be part of. It’s a great office culture. It was very welcoming. As a student I couldn’t have asked for anything more.”
Eason so impressed everyone this summer that he was asked to continue assisting with preparations for An Evening With Epic on a weekly basis until November.
“He’s a very quick learner and understood right away what we do as an organization,” Dionne says. “He’s a real go-getter. He has a real charisma and is naturally able to connect with people. He really excelled for us this summer.”