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Oasis earns Employment Award

Diana Forbes | Interrobang | News | April 10th, 2006



One of Fanshawe's most popular eateries and lounge areas has been honoured with an award for their commitment, support and employment of individuals facing social roadblocks.

The Oasis, a “marche” style restaurant located in the new Student Centre, was named the recipient of the Ability First Award from the Employment Alliance (TEA), which focuses on building opportunities for people who have disabilities.

Debra Jacques, manager of TEA, said the Oasis is a deserving recipient because they hired each individual for their abilities rather than their disabilities.

“It was a chance to do something for the community,” said Steve Sullivan, FSU director of hospitality. “A chance for us as individuals to learn and grow, and give something back.”

The Ability First awards recognize London-area businesses that have gone above and beyond to incorporate people with disabilities into the workforce.

The Oasis was nominated for the award by the Western Ontario Therapeutic Community Hostel (WOTCH), which is “committed to helping individuals attain their employment goals through employment planning, job search assistance, job skills training, job coaching and job placement.”

Assisted by TEA, the Oasis hired three part-time food service employees with social challenges in September 2004, when the eatery opened its doors to the public.

Sullivan said the workers wages were government subsidized during first year, but since September 2005, the FSU has proudly employed them at their own cost.

“Some have taken on new and challenging tasks,” Sullivan said. “One even trains new staff.”

Sullivan said the three employees are hard, dependable workers, who are a positive addition to the Oasis team.


Jacques said through a paying job and a sense of contributing to their own lives, the employees develop confidence and self-reliance while gaining work experience and developing skills.

The Oasis has a total of 50 part-time and full-time employees and is the main food source for students living Fanshawe's two residences.

TEA is an employment service in collaboration with Human Resources and Skills Development Canada and the Ontario Disability Support Program, which strives to “improve the current job development system through co-operation and the creation of strategies and resources that will result in more employment opportunities for people with disabilities.”

Sullivan said TEA has been an excellent and helpful resource, and hopes to work with the agency again next year to integrate more hard working individuals.
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