Employment Support Services Programs

Key Industries offers a variety of specialized programs and services to working-aged adults (between 19 and 64) who live with long-term intellectual, mental and sensory impairments or physical disabilities.  The Key Industries “Social & Personal Development Programs” are now operating under the new employment-first standards of the Employment and Support Services Program (ESSP). Along with our existing personal and community development programs, we also provide employment support and job readiness skills to participants whose goal is employment.

To access the ESSP Programs and Services you must first apply to the Department of Social Development – Disability Support Program (DSP) and fill out an application. This can be done by calling 1-833-733-7835 or by visiting the link below to fill out an online application.

Disability Support Program

There are three main ways the application and information-gathering process may be completed. Individuals can apply independently, with the assistance of a family member, friend, Social Development or mental health worker, or through an independent facilitator. The intake process involves a DSP Social Worker who will determine the applicant’s strengths and unmet needs. They will also develop a case plan for ongoing support, regular contact, and advocacy. Referral to the ESSP program is voluntary.

Upon entry into the Key Industries – ESSP program, a collaborative planning meeting will assist in establishing an Individualized Employment & Support Plan (IESP) to identify the individual’s strengths, needs, skills, interests, and goals. Through this process, a Service Plan is developed to support the individual’s evolution in achieving personal development, community engagement, and employment goals. Our programs are adapted to support everyone’s unique and diverse interests for achieving their goals. Service Plans are reviewed and updated as goals are achieved and as an individual’s interests change.

Our Programs

Key Industries has updated its service offerings and restructured its personal and community development programs. We currently provide two employment-first programs to empower persons with disabilities to achieve personal, community and economic independence. We have two new programs for participants seeking meaningful employment: “The Launch” and “Enrichment Program”.

Pre-employment & job readiness skills can lead to employment 

The Individualized Employment & Support Plan (IESP) process involves career development support, and activities that assist individuals in planning and preparing for meaningful employment. Pre-employment skills building encompasses a wide range of activities intended to support and encourage individuals to develop competencies and soft skills.

As individuals become job ready, we offer work experience opportunities for individuals to train in their field of interest, where a job coach can assess their abilities and target areas for additional development. This process also includes natural support from co-workers and mentors.


Upon entry into The Launch program, a pre-screening consultation meeting will be arranged to identify which employment program would most benefit the individual. This also helps to gauge current skill levels and what would be needed for employment. The Launch program focuses on enhancing essential skills that assist in developing job readiness skills while gaining a greater sense of independence within the community.  Individuals will learn everyday skills that benefit independent living or living with less support.

The Launch’s hands-on instruction style includes opportunities for learning and connecting to individual interests. As individuals become more job-ready, they may wish to be connected to an Employment Counsellor and/or to one of our existing Employment Support Programs such as:

  • Employment Marketing & Development
  • Ways To Work (a workplace social skills program)
  • Job Search Central
  • The Bridge
  • Job Coaching (once employment is gained)


Participants who become employed can leave Key Industries and move on to a more independent lifestyle, or they can attend the Enrichment Program on their days off from work. The Enrichment Program was designed out of a need to assist participants with anxiety, loneliness or who are at greater risk of becoming socially isolated to remain connected with friends.

Facilitators, along with participants, plan fun, leisure and recreational activities and events that are driven by individual interests. This program is designed to assist employed participants to stay connected socially through engagement in exploring these interests, hobbies, and activities both onsite and within the community. The Program Facilitator will monitor how participants are coping with the pressures of their jobs and any changes in their lives.


Our personal development programs cover all facets of independent living. Participants can choose from various life skills programs to assist with a successful and independent lifestyle.

The ESSP Program offers over one hundred life skills classes that provide individuals with a deeper understanding on how to navigate life’s potential challenges. An engaging, team based-learning environment is emphasized. Visual PowerPoint presentations are used, along with incorporating role-play, discussions, debates, games, and exercises to allow individuals an opportunity to practice using the skills they are learning. 

In addition, individuals can also choose from a variety of programs and services to assist with a successful and independent lifestyle. A diverse menu of services is offered where individuals can choose sessions that best fit their interests, some of which include Music, Music Therapy, Video Dance, Arts, Crafts, Gardening, Fitness, Community Awareness and Outings, and Job Readiness Skills.

Our Community Connections program assists individuals with exploring everything Saint John and surrounding areas have to offer, what is available for participants to get involved in focusing on their interests, joining service groups and clubs, taking part in entertainment and festivals, and going for strolls through our beautiful, historic city. Many individuals are interested in volunteering and enjoy serving and giving back to our community. With volunteering, new skills are learned that enhance one’s resume, which may lead to employment. Our dedicated staff assists and supports participants along their continuum.


Key Industries promotes social and community connections, whether the individual’s identified goal is social interest, therapeutic, recreational, emotional, mental, and physical wellness, or to volunteer in the community.

Through volunteering, individuals are offered the opportunity to gain new experiences through work practice while building a network of relationships with community-minded citizens and developing transferable skills. Volunteers will receive an orientation, a review of expectations, and receive feedback to build employability skills in a structured and safe environment.

Program Contacts


Programs & Services Director
ESSP Program Coordinator
Monday to Friday
9:00 AM to 3:30 PM
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