This Month, Recognize The Opportunity For Change

October 6th, 2016


Tim Rose

October is Disability Employment Awareness Month. To raise awareness and highlight this month, the Magnet team would like to offer a few thoughts on some of the issues surrounding employment for people with disabilities, and share a few stories from those we have come into contact with over the last several months.

Being a job seeker can be tough for anyone. Add a disability into the mix, though, and it can get even tougher. Unemployment numbers among people with disabilities are still staggeringly high. According to the recent Partnerships Council Report on Employment and Disability (2016), the unemployment rate among people with disabilities in Ontario is over 16%, more than double that of the general population. The numbers are not good despite many organizations that are doing a lot of great work, and there is still a huge talent pool out there that is looking for their opportunity. Members of the Magnet team know this gap all too well, having gone through many of the challenges that jobseekers with the disability face on a daily basis through our own experience. And so we are trying to change the conversation…

We recognize that the biggest challenge for so many jobseekers with a disability is knowing where to turn. There are so many organizations, programs, pitfalls and barriers out there that it can be truly overwhelming for anyone. As a result, jobseekers with disabilities are left to try and make sense of a confusing maze of services. They can get bogged down - or worse - disengage entirely. A more cohesive system is clearly needed on all sides.

Magnet's innovative technology platform is connecting employers, jobseekers and community organizations like never before. At Magnet, we believe in bringing together a wide range of stakeholders who are dedicated to closing the shameful gap of disability employment that exists in Canada. Not just the supply (jobseekers) and demand (employers), but community groups, employment agencies and schools as well. We are creating a multi-faceted network that can reach a wider audience and provide more tools to success.

We hope that this approach will break down silos so that people with disabilities don't have to navigate the incredibly confusing system on their own. How are we doing this? By making it easier for job seekers and employers to find one another. By empowering those with disabilities can make their own choices on their own terms. And by providing a community hub to access resources and information that matters to you. We are not the only piece of the puzzle, but hope that our platform can contribute to the need in this area for new technologies and fresh ideas.

We know there is a long way to go. For us as an organization, there have been many twists and turns in the road to success and there will no doubt be many more. However, there has also been huge opportunities and fantastic connections. The word is spreading about Magnet within the disability community people are excited by the innovation and perspective that we are bringing to the table. For the team at Magnet, closing the gap for people with disabilities looking for work is more than just the right thing to do, it's the smart thing to do.

And we look forward to doing more, and getting smarter, in the months and years to come.if you want to get in touch with us about any of our disability initiatives, you can always reach out to Tim Rose, our Diversity Project Lead, at timothy.rose@ryerson.ca.