LakeCity Works: Putting the social in enterprise

LakeCity Works: Putting the social in enterprise

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Contributors:

Nichole Carver

The labour shortage that began during the early stages of COVID is far from over. According to Statistics Canada, there were 915,500 unfilled positions in the fourth quarter of 2021. That's up by 63% compared to the previous year.

Employers are always searching for innovative and creative ways to find, and retain, staff. LakeCity Works is here to offer employers an opportunity to tap an underrepresented pool of talented and diverse employees that could help close the gap.

For over forty years, LakeCity Works has been facilitating positive, transformative change in both our community and in the lives of clients. As an early adopter of social enterprise, we recognized it as an effective and socially-conscious business model. Social enterprise supports people living with mental illness, helping them to follow their employment dreams and develop skills in a safe and judgment-free environment. LakeCity Woodworkers, our award-winning flagship enterprise, supports approximately fifty people living with mental illness. These individuals are involved in the production of quality handcrafted furniture and custom-built wood products for both residential and commercial purposes. LakeCity Plastics, our socially and environmentally impactful venture, transforms plastic lumber – made from recycled film plastics – into a line of beautifully robust outdoor furniture, effectively turning single-use plastics into something that will last a lifetime. These two initiatives place LakeCity Works in the vanguard of social enterprise in Nova Scotia.

Originally founded as a drop-in centre for clients of mental health support services, LakeCity Works has always been deeply rooted in therapeutic woodworking, community support, and social innovation. Over the years, we have assisted thousands of individuals on their journey to living healthier lives. LakeCity Works connects people living with mental illness to employment navigators and job coaches tasked with supporting their journey to employment. With the advent of our microenterprises, such as Bright Fire Starters, ReBoot, and the newly renamed LakeCity Helpers, we have rounded out our suite of client-driven and socially-aware business offerings. These internal but community-facing microenterprises provide hands-on, experiential employability skills building opportunities, including: customer service, disassembly and rebuilding of computers, multistep production, and property maintenance. These opportunities also hone interpersonal communication, time management, and problem-solving skills.

Along with our award-winning social enterprises, LakeCity Works recognizes that recovery and actualizing change in one’s life is a multistep process. Four years ago, LakeCity Works launched its Therapeutic Woodworking Program for Veterans. The goal of the Therapeutic Woodworking Program for Veterans is to create an inclusive space where participants at all stages of recovery can develop their own sense of self-worth through creative recreation and community support. We believe that every person has unique skills and abilities. We also believe that resilient communities are born when these abilities are channeled into compassionate support for ourselves and others, whose struggles resemble our own.

LakeCity Works has firsthand experience with the impact of social enterprise in our community, making us confident in spreading the word. Through LakeCity Works Employment, our Employment Navigators work with around 250 clients every year to overcome barriers that may prevent them from entering the workforce. Clients receive access to job postings, job development, work readiness skills, and options for volunteering and educational opportunities. All services are client-centered and based on an individual's goals.

Local business owners and hiring managers can tap into a wellspring of talent and pump a little social into their enterprise: a win-win for all parties. Our awesome team of Employment Navigators can connect you with job seekers looking for an opportunity to make their career dream a reality. Reach out to us to discuss how you can put some social into your enterprise today!


Get in touch with LakeCity Works at:
lakecityworks.ca


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