Wakeman hard at work on the track and on the job

By: Jim Maloway, MLA for Elmwood

As published in The Herald

November 13, 2015

From left: Jim Maloway, MLA for Elmwood, meets with Joan Trubyk, assistant superintendent for student services, River East Transcona-School Division, and Adam Wakeman.

A few weeks ago I met a wonderful person who is breaking down barriers.

His name is Adam Wakeman and he is a medal-winning Special Olympian who works at Polson School as a student services assistant.

Adam started working at Polson School in 2013 through a partnership between the Transcona-Springfield Employment Network (TSEN) and the River East-Transcona School Division. TSEN has a variety of partnerships and they always encourage employers to hire people with disabilities at competitive wages. As part of Disability Employment Awareness Month, Adam kindly invited me to tour his workplace for Take Your MLA to Work Day.

Take Your MLA to Work is a Manitoba Supported Employment Network initiative, designed to reach out to local politicians. The MSEN, which includes the TSEN as a member, thought it would be a great way to celebrate the workforce contributions of Manitobans with disabilities, encourage more inclusive hiring practices, and recognize those businesses that have enthusiastically adopted those practices. They were right.

Throughout my tour, it was obvious that Adam is a valued, hard-working employee and an energetic team player. He is proud of the new skills he has learned and is responsible for making sure his office is productive and efficient. One of Adam’s favourite parts of working at Polson School is that he gets to hear his favourite song "O Canada" every morning.

Adam takes advantage of working at Polson School by training after hours for Canada’s 2016 Special Olympics, being held this February in Newfoundland. Adam has already competed and won medals at the international level, including a gold in track and field at the Special Olympics in China. He has decorated his room with flags of all the provinces he’s been to, several Canadian flags, and his hard-earned medals and ribbons.

It’s important to Adam that people discuss the advantages of competitively employing workers with disabilities, as well as the challenges that they face. The Transcona-Springfield Employment Network is right there with him. They are an invaluable community resource with an array of services, including supported employment, advocacy, and literacy training.

A big hearty congratulations to Adam on his continued success. I’d also like to highlight the good work of Sheri Thomas of the Transcona-Springfield Employment Network, Mary LaPage Leclerc of Polson School, and the River East- Transcona School Division for their work breaking down barriers that only limit us all.

If you’ve any questions or would like more information, please call my office at 204-415-1122, or email me at Jim.Maloway@YourManitoba.ca