Posted: Tuesday March 21, 2023
In 2018 our team was invited to meet with the team at Career Services to learn a bit more about how they operate and what they manage on site. Career Services is a non-profit organization designed to assist individuals with barriers find and maintain employment, but their work does not stop there. They also work with new Canadian residents who need to get some Canadian job references on their resume, people who have been out of the workforce for a while, and anyone looking to increase their employable skills. They don’t only place workers; they run an industrial business on site that serves as their training grounds and a way to bring in additional revenue to support their mandate. Brockville is fortunate to have this dedicated team operating here providing services for our workers and strengthening partnerships with our many local manufacturers who utilize their services.
We asked Cynthia Sparring, Executive Director of Career Services, to provide some additional background on the local organization.
Can you provide a brief overview of your company and what you do:
Career Services is fully engaged in serving the Brockville community by providing and supporting the best possible opportunities for growth and development for everyone. We offer the unique combination of an employment service which includes placement and skills development for individuals who face barriers to employment, and a revenue- generating industrial business that offers co-packaging and staffing solutions throughout the region.
Tell us a bit about how your business came to be and the path it took to get where it is today:
Career services started as a grass roots initiative. Our organization was formed by a group of families with members that faced barriers to employment.
How long have you been in business for?
We have been in business for over 45 years, but we were officially incorporated in 1976.
How many people work at your company?
In 2017 we had a payroll of over $2.5 million employing over 125 people.
What services do you provide that are unique to Brockville?
“We do not define ourselves by offering employment services to certain focus group but that we offer our service to anyone with a barrier that needs more hands-on assistance with their employment journey along with on the job coaching supports that are not only around soft employment skills but also helping/learning with the actual job tasks.” – Cynthia Sparring
How would you describe your team?
We are an educated, adaptable and community minded team, unified in providing employment outcomes and providing quality and competitively priced co-packing and staffing solutions.
What makes Brockville the ideal location for your business?
Brockville has unique access to many markets. Located next to both the Highway 401 corridor between Toronto and Montreal and the International Border Crossing to New York State we can give our customers both a competitive and logistical advantage.
What is something most people don’t know about your industry?
We are unassuming; quietly we have become one of the larger employers in the area with our co-packing and staffing solutions employing over 125 people and our job development/placement team has found over 60 new employment opportunities for those who face barriers to employment in our community.
Is there anything you would like to share about your business?
Business and Organizations that champion Career Services by providing employment opportunities and out-sourced packaging initiatives are also making an investment to make our community more inclusive. With their help, in 2017/18 we packaged over 5 million items for many local fortune 500 companies in our region.
We would like to extend our co-packing services of assembly/packing, shrink/flow wrapping, PDQ displays, ISPM 15 pallet/crate manufacturing and off-site staffing solutions to new potential customers that may not know what we can do to improve their company’s success.
What is the biggest challenge you have overcome in your business?
In this past year, both changes to the Employment Standards Act and the closure announcements of some local industries have impacted us greatly. However, with over 45 years of operations experience we know that through increased production efficiencies, our existing and new partnerships, and our desire to help our community that our unique services will continue to succeed.
What is next for your company?
External pressures combined with a new focus, has us looking at every facet of our Organization. New Community Partnerships, Programs, and Business Initiatives will be coming throughout 2019.
What is your favourite part about living and working in Brockville?
It’s location. With the St. Lawrence River and the 1000 islands on our doorstep Brockville brings our employees an amazing quality of life. From walks along the waterfront, to boating, Brockville offers a beautiful natural landscape. Brockville also offers a unique mix of local flare, found in its many unique shops and restaurants along with access to the Urban cultures of Kingston, Ottawa and Montreal which are only a short drive away.
What would you say is the “best kept secret” about Brockville?
“We at Career Services are always amazed by the many generous hearts that fill the streets, homes and businesses in Brockville. There is an amazing local culture of working together for wellbeing of our community. From Volunteering, to Palliative Care fundraising our community works together and Career services strives to contribute to these efforts by helping as many individuals as we can, every day.” – Cynthia Sparring
Contact Career Services:
Cynthia Sparring, Executive Director
Location: 89 Hubbell Street, Brockville Ontario