ACCESS Program

Invisible barriers to employment often go overlooked or dismissed. The ACCESS Program is a free, supportive group employment program that helps people struggling with their mental health find jobs and gain stable employment.

Over 24 weeks, participants build employment readiness skills and gain valuable work experience opportunities that match their strengths and interests.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Women and gender-diverse people
  • Adults 25 years and older
  • Experience of mental health challenges that impact employment, unemployment, or underemployment
  • Canadian citizen, permanent resident, or granted refugee status

Program Delivery

ACCESS Program is divided into three stages of group programming, with some programming taking place online virtually and some in-person.

The program runs for a total of 24 weeks with programming taking about 20 hours a week.

Stage 1) In-Class Workshops and Training Sessions

Over eight weeks, participants will be taught important employment readiness skills through both in-person and virtual group sessions.

Workshop and training topics include:

  • Employment values
  • Goal setting
  • Job interview preparation
  • Resume and cover letter writing
  • Skill assessments

Stage 2) Community Action Project  

Over six weeks, participants will work together on a Community Action Project that benefits and supports their community. Participants collectively decide on the project’s focus which can range from fundraising or awareness campaigns, to garden projects and charity item drives.

Working together on this project gives participants an opportunity for personal growth, skill development, networking, and teamwork.

Step 3) Paid Work Placement

Over 12 weeks, participants will secure a paid work placement with the support of YWCA Halifax staff.

Placements will be matched to each participant’s interests, provide the chance to learn new skills, support future job goals, and may lead to longer term employment.

Financial Support

ACCESS is free to sign up and paid to attend! Stipends and wage subsidies are available at the rate of $15/hour with program time lasting 20 hours each week.

How to Sign Up

To register for an upcoming ACCESS Program cohort, or be placed on a waitlist, please contact: | (902) 414-3174

Questions and Contact

If you have questions or would like to learn more about the program, please email:

Em Isbill (they/them) | Program Coordinator