Champions Career Centre

We are changing lives by creating more inclusive workplaces to strengthen our community.

Franky smiling while working at Home DepotOur Story Why We Exist

Today, 9 more Calgarians had to face the reality of going to work with a disability. What would you do if you couldn't return  to your job because of an illness? An accident? Or Genetic Disease? What if employers looked at you as "damaged" and wouldn't hire you?

"Without Champions, I don't know where I'd be right now...."

Clients like Franky tell us "I felt like no one wanted to hire me or even give me a chance. It was so great to come to Champions, to tell them about my life, talk about my learning disability and to get help with my job search. With Champions help, I have a great job with Home Depot that I love and am working hard to become a Head Cashier" - Frank, 2013 Champion, Lot Associate - Home Depot. 

At Champions Career Centre, we offer all kinds of career and employment supports for both job seekers and employers. Before Champions, Frank struggled with his job search. He would land interviews but things didn't seem to progress beyond the interview. This broke down Frank's confidence and he wasn't sure where to go from there. That is when he was introduced to Champions Career Centre.  We decided that instead of providing the traditional group workshop, we would tailor our program to meet his specific needs. So we began working with him one-on-one building his interviewing skills and his confidence.

We met with Frank to review his goals and challenges. In this meeting we discovered that he was a very personable and determined individual who enjoyed helping people. Through our conversations with him we discovered that his skills and personality would make him a great asset for any company in a customer service role. Now Frank is known by name to customers, brings a smile to everyone he encounters, and has won multiple "Homer awards" for amazing customer service!

A big misconception is that people with disabilities are different. One in six Albertans has a disability, and since we can't always see them, we don't think about things like arthritis, or diabetes, epilepsy, learning disorders, mental health illnesses, etc. as being a disability, but they are.

We help individuals like Franky every single day. We are proud to be changing lives by creating inclusive workplaces and strong communities. 

See more of Frank's story here

Large group of people in business attire with one person in a wheelchairOur Impact What We Do

Champions is a pan-disability agency, which means we work with people who have visible or invisible disabilities. Visible disabilities include mobility issues and visual impairment. Invisible disabilities include hearing impairment, learning disabilities, chronic pain, diabetes, anxiety and depression. 

Over the years we have connected thousands of people to the right job and helped many employers recruit and retain top talent with disabilities. Clients tell us Champions is a supportive environment. Employers tell us Champions helps by keeping their bottom-line in mind. Both tell us they appreciate how we create a truly customized approach to all we do.

Results: In 2014, we welcomed over 3,000 individuals into the Champions centre. We've offered disability resources and an accessible business centre and computer lab. Candidates have been active in extensive career planning, employment readiness workshops, job search and placement services. Our candidates are diverse, obtaining employment in all industries, from entry-level to management positions. 

Vision: Changing lives by creating inclusive workplaces and strong communities.

Mission: Champions Career Centre creates a fundamental shift in perception of disabilities in the workplace through employment supports, education and advocacy.

Values: We are committed to a diverse workforce where individuals are respected, valued and appreciated through Collaboration, Trust, Accountability and Inclusion.

Here is an example of how inclusion is embraced by Champions Career Centre:

"Champions showed me that it was important to let my personality show during an interview, which made all the difference. We laughed a lot during the interview and when I decided to disclose my disability, it simply wasn't an issue."

- Maria, 2013 Champion, Project Analyst in Oil and Gas Industry.

Group of 6 men and women huddled together smiling at a workplaceOur Programs How We Do It

"My cousin has Down Syndrome, and based on the challenges he has I’m not sure he could do the job we're looking to fill."

The most important thing to keep in mind is that each person has different skills, abilities and barriers regardless of their disability. At Champions, we take a person centred approach focusing on making a match between an employer's needs and a person's skills and abilities. Not every person is a fit for every job. By understanding the key elements of any position, you are able to look at the skills, experience and ability and make a hiring decision based on fit.

  • Client Career Services: We work with adults with a disability seeking career development or employment support and direction. We offer workshops, skill development, employer connections and 1:1 support, all based on your individual needs. We emphasize skills, ability, potential and self-worth.
  • Services for Employers: Champions Career Centre helps businesses in Calgary to attract, recruit and retain key talent for their workplaces. Our Services Include:
    • Candidate Recruitment and Placement
    • Diversity and Inclusion Strategies
    • Disclosure & Accommodation Policy Development
    • Disability Awareness and Training
  • Available Candidates: We work with candidates of all backgrounds, levels of skill and training experience. We work one on one with each of our candidates to determine a career path that is right for them. We help people with a range of disabilities, both visible and invisible, including mobility issues, arthritis, visual or hearing impairment, learning disabilities, chronic pain, diabetes and anxiety.
  • Client Referrals: Champions accepts frequent referrals from community partners. Referral forms are on our website and a referral form is not required for individuals to access Champions’ services. Self-referral is welcome.

We’re sure you’ve hired somebody with brown hair that didn’t work out. Does that mean you shouldn’t hire anybody else with brown hair? Everybody is different and has different skills and abilities whether they have a disability or not. The key is finding the right person for the right job and focusing on their skills and how they can contribute to the success of your team. People with disabilities are all unique just like everyone else and should not be reflective of all people with disabilities.

Chef and support team placing meal for pickup at restaurant counter.Our Requests What You Can Do

Since 2000,  Champions Career Centre has been helping to eliminate barriers to employment for thousands of Calgarians with a disability. We are working towards building a society in which physical and mental differences among people are seen and accepted as normal and expected, not abnormal or unusual. We prefer to advocate for a social structure that focuses on including all people in the social fabric, rather than drawing an artificial line that separates “disabled people” from others.

You can DONATE: Learn more about how you can join the Monthly Giving program or make a donation In Tribute of somebody special, or learn what kind of donations we are seeking by reviewing our Wish List or Sponsorship opportunities.

You can VOLUNTEER: Volunteers are a vital part of Champions Career Centre. Our positive impact on the communities we serve would not be possible without the dedication, passion and commitment of our volunteers. Volunteers gain experience, new skills, new connections and a personal satisfaction in helping others striving towards employment success.

Volunteer opportunities:

  • Interview Skills Assessor
  • Computer Skills Coach
  • Administration

For more information on how you can help, please contact us 403.265.5374

You can REDUCE our WISH LIST: Sometimes it is the little things that can have the greatest impact. Champions is also seeking Gift in Kind donations. In Kind donations are defined as gifts of property other than cash (i.e. cheques and credit card payments) and marketable securities. Examples of gifts in kind include: office equipment, books, household supplies, etc. These new and gently used items can make a world of difference in the lives of our clients.

Help our Clients be more successful in our Office, by providing a donation of:

  • Computers for our Client’s Computer Lab
  • Updated, more powerful Server
  • Projector
  • 8 – 10 small round tables (can seat 2-3 people)
  • 15 Chairs
  • Uniformed office furniture
  • Full spectrum fluorescent lighting
  • Idea Paint – and volunteers to paint the Training Room
  • SMART board
  • Office painted
  • Magazine/Newspaper Rack