Hamilton's Core is Ground Zero for Change

This city is constantly evolving and with so many more opportunities for growth, the potential for local residents to find meaningful employment will continue to grow with it.

By Ryan Barath
Published July 31, 2017

If you have lived in Hamilton for more than ten years, you have seen the change that is happening - especially recently. New businesses are popping up like it's the west coast gold rush again. Lifelong Hamiltonians and Newcomers alike are discovering the potential that has been here all along. From our abundance of green spaces to our beautiful architecture, there is a lot to love.

On the other hand, however, we are still working through the problem of employing and empowering the marginalized individuals in our city.

My name is Ryan Barath and I am the Community Outreach Coordinator at PATH Employment Services, located at 31 King Street East just steps from the fountain in Gore Park. PATH is non-profit that specializes in helping individuals with disabilities find employment in Hamilton and we are seeing first hand the changes that are happening right outside our doors.

We have been a part of Hamilton's changing employment environment since 1972 and this year marks 45 years for our organization. Gore Park is our home and we couldn't be happier to see the businesses around it thriving. We have new restaurants all along King William, reinvestment in the Hamilton Farmers Market, Stelco Tower, and Jackson Square.

Plus, thanks to the Downtown Hamilton BIA we have food trucks and live music during the work week right in the park.

At PATH, it's our mission not only to help people find meaningful employment, but also to work with employers to help them understand that the term disability is a very broad one and that accommodating a person with a disability can be simple.

We work with people from all different backgrounds, including newcomers to Canada, people returning to work from injury, seniors, people who live with mental illness, people struggling with addictions, youth, and many more.

Part of the solution for employing and empowering individuals in our city is to support their disability disclosure, to teach them what, how, and when to disclose, to help build a personalized plan for every individual that comes through the door, and to connect with employers to show them that making adjustments in the workplace for people with disabilities is achievable.

Our clients are just as diverse as the city, from limited formal education all the way to multiple university degrees. It is always our number one goal to make sure that we do everything we can not only to help provide employment support but also to provide personal support along the way.

So how do I fit into the story of an organization here in Hamilton that has been around for 45 years? Together, PATH and I have many things in common.

PATH was founded at Mohawk College, which also happens to be where I chose to attend college. We are both proud to be a part of the fabric of the city, PATH having been around for 45 years now, while I gave up my former commuter life working in Toronto to make a difference in a city that I call home with my family.

We are both committed to working hard every day to make a difference here in Hamilton. PATH places more than 400 people each year into employment in the city and it's my job to reach out to individuals who are looking for help.

This city is constantly evolving and with so many more opportunities for growth, the potential for local residents to find meaningful employment will continue to grow with it.

Ryan Barath is the Community Outreach Coordinator at PATH Employment and proud Hamiltonian focused on community and economic growth.


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