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Training time

Derek Neary
Northern News Services

Fort Simpson (Nov 25/05) - Jocelyn Marcellais thirsts for greater independence and she has taken a step in that direction.

Marcellais, a client at Stanley Isaiah Supportive Living Home, is involved in a six-week job placement program at T.J.'s Grocery.

NNSL Photo/graphic

Jocelyn Marcellais applies price stickers to TV dinners at T.J.'s Grocery while staff member Lucy Browning gives her instructions. Marcellais is working at the store to gain job skills and experience. - Derek Neary/NNSL photo

Each Monday, Wednesday and Friday, from 10-11 a.m., she dusts, stocks shelves, prices merchandise and completes other tasks at the store.

Asked why she wanted the job, she replied, "So I can just help out and learn more things."

Her momentary break to answer questions comes to a halt when she notices co-worker Lucy Browning pass by with more products in tow.

"I've got to stock," Marcellais said as she hustled after Browning.

Lynn Wharton, Marcellais' job coach and manager of Stanley Isaiah Supportive Living Home for people with various disabilities, said her protege is fitting in nicely at T.J.'s Grocery.

"She's doing just great at this one," said Wharton.

Other clients are working elsewhere in the community, she noted. Jacinte Betsedea helps package and deliver pre-natal meal bags for expecting and new moms.

Albertine Betsedea puts in hours at the health centre's laundry room.

Rosie Boots is employed at the library.

Chris Cli, who fulfilled a job placement at the Nahanni Inn in March, is still working there.

The jobs provide a self-esteem boost, according to Wharton.

"It makes a terrific difference. I see that on a daily basis," she said. "It's something to get up and be happy about, feel really good about."

Other supportive-living home clients are enroled in Aurora College's Bridging Employment Skills Training program, which teaches them how to prepare for a job.

"Hopefully with in a certain period of time we can help them learn all they need to keep a job," Wharton said.

She added that employers in Fort Simpson have been very supportive of the initiative.

Rick Dupont, manager of T.J.'s Grocery said extending the opportunity benefits everyone.

"It helps further students in education for pre-employment and I figure that's good for the youth," he said. "We'd be interested in doing lots of that, actually."