top of page



Define what is possible!

Disability and poverty fuel each other in a vicious cycle of hardship and deprivation that is hard to escape. Disability stigma limits education, training, employment and income generation opportunities. Even in a household living above the poverty line, stigma can keep disabled family members in a situation of poverty if they are denied the opportunities to realize their dreams. 

Employment is an important part of life for so many reasons. Given the right support, people with disabilities can be an asset in the workplace and make a positive contribution to society. Our innovative employment program aims at ensuring that people with disabilities get the same opportunities as everyone else.

Who operates the Success to Employment Program (STEP)?

STEP is a service of Café Bel-Air, a nonprofit organization headquartered in Edmonton, Alberta. The goal of STEP is to create employment opportunities in the food and hospitality industry for people with disabilities. We believe that all persons, regardless of their level of disability, can and should live and work in the community with dignity, choice and self-determination. We currently operate STEP programs in Edmonton.

What is STEP?

Developed in response to the low employment rate for individuals with disabilities in the food and hospitality industry, the Success to Employment Program (STEP) is a job training program for adults with disabilities.

STEP will: 

  • Provide integrated, community-based work experiences

  • Increase employability and marketability

  • Provide acquisition of tangible work skills

  • Evaluate and chart individuals' progress

  • Provide post-graduation job placement assistance


How is STEP different from other employment programs?

STEP is different from other employment programs for individuals with disabilities as we not only provide job search to adults with barriers to employment, but also  provide employment preparation training, and permanent employment to many of our graduates. Rather that spreading ourselves too thin, we focus on what we know best; that is the food and hospitality industry.

We are able to provide our graduates with rewarding and meaningful employment because Café Bel-Air is a shop dedicated to and run by individuals with disabilities. The organization also operates at various farmers markets, food truck events and summer festivals in the City of Edmonton.

What is Support Employment?

Supported Employment provides persons with developmental disabilities equal opportunity to find meaningful and rewarding employment. Our efforts are very client-focused; much consideration is given to the individual's abilities and strengths as well as their own personal interests.

Any adult with a developmental disability is eligible. This can be initiated by the person with the disability or from any agency or advocate. Any employer wishing to hire a person with a disability can also avail of our services.

What is process towards Supported Employment?

When the strengths and interests of an individual are identified, the pre-employment team then begins the preparatory steps towards designing a detailed training plan that is customized to the individual’s goal towards competitive employment.

Once the pre-employment training is over, the employment team then begins the job search and job match process by approaching suitable potential employers on their behalf. It is important to note that Café Bel-Air hires most of our graduates and provide them with meaningful employment.

The employer is responsible for paying the wages of the supported employee (either part-time or full-time) and Café Bel-Air can provide, if required, a co-worker to work one-on-one with the supported employee at NO COST to the employer.

The role of the co-worker is to assist the supported employee utilizing skill building techniques to the point where he/she can perform the duties and responsibilities of the job independently. The level of support can eventually be reduced as the supported employee progresses.

Who benefits?

The two people that directly benefit are the Supported Employee and the Employer. Indirectly, the government and community as whole benefit from hiring individuals with disabilities.

Supported Employee: When an individual with a disability works at a job that he/she truly enjoys being valued as integral members of the community. The individual also truly enjoys having the same opportunity of achieving the highest attainable standards of wellbeing and financial independence. Finally, the individual experiences a stimulated  growth in social skills and self-esteem.

Employer: Employers benefit by gaining a hardworking, dedicated and dependable employee. According to employers across the province, supported employees have lower levels of absenteeism and are they are very grateful to be given the opportunity to prove their abilities and expand their skills.

What are the STEP programs?

bottom of page