44 The Career Success Symposium for Students with Disabilities: Facilitating and Strengthening Connections Between Students with Disabilities, Employers and Community Partners

PRESENTATION OVERVIEW FROM CONFERENCE PROGRAM

Julie Rahmer & Dianne Twombly, York University

In 2011, the employment rate of Canadians aged 25-64 with disabilities was 49% compared with 79% for those without a disability, significantly reducing the prospects for graduating students with disabilities self-sufficiency and success. Career Centres often have difficulty engaging students with disabilities who may require specialized career supports to help them address their unique barriers to employment.

The Career Success Symposium for Students with Disabilities is an accessible, innovative, one-day conference style event whose goal is to inspire and empower York students and recent graduates with disabilities by providing them with an opportunity to hear success stories from professionals with disabilities; build relationships with community support providers; practice networking skills in a non-threatening environment; learn how to seek out or create employment opportunities; meet with employers who are interested in hiring graduates with disabilities; and hear about innovative supports and services for professionals with disabilities in the workplace.

Introduced as a small event in 2011, participation has increased from 9 students, 4 community and employer exhibitors and 3 panelists to 101 students, 14 community and employer exhibitors, 5 panelists and a well-known keynote speaker with a disability in 2016. Due to the event’s success, students, employers and community partners now reach out to York’s Career Centre requesting participation in the event before it has even been scheduled.

KEY WORDS

  • Student success
  • Partnership
  • Accessibility
  • Innovation
  • Community support

 

BIO

Julie Rahmer, York University
Julie brings 20 years of experience within the career development field to her role as Director, Career Centre at York University. In her current role Julie is a key member of the leadership team of the Student Success Centre and responsible for establishing and cultivating strategic partnerships, both internally and externally, to create effective career exploration, job search and workplace skills development supports for York students and new graduates. Having recently been seconded to the Office of the AVP, Teaching & Learning, Julie was instrumental in building a new unit – the YU Experience Hub – designed to expand, enhance and promote experiential education opportunities at York University. Prior to coming to York, Julie was Manager, Research & Publications at the Canadian Association of Career Educators and Employers (CACEE).

Dianne Twombly, York University
Dianne, MSW is the Manager, Career Development, at York University’s Career Centre. Over the past 20 years, she has worked as a social worker, family therapist, career counsellor and program manager in educational and non-profit settings in both Canada and the United States, supporting the career success of clients with multiple barriers to employment.

 

LINK TO PRESENTATION

Click here to view presentation.

 

SUMMARY

Overview

In 2011, the employment rate of Canadians aged 25-64 with disabilities was 49% compared with 79% for those without a disability, significantly reducing the prospects for graduating students with disabilities’ self-sufficiency and success. Career Centres often have difficulty engaging students with disabilities who may require specialized career supports to help them address their unique barriers to employment.

The Career Success Symposium for Students with Disabilities is an accessible, innovative, one-day conference style event whose goal is to inspire and empower York students and recent graduates with disabilities by providing them with an opportunity to hear success stories from professionals with disabilities; build relationships with community support providers; practice networking skills in a non-threatening environment; learn how to seek out or create employment opportunities; meet with employers who are interested in hiring graduates with disabilities; and hear about innovative supports and services for professionals with disabilities in the workplace.

Introduced as a small event in 2011, participation has increased from 9 students, 4 community and employer exhibitors and 3 panelists to 101 students, 14 community and employer exhibitors, 5 panelists and a well-known keynote speaker with a disability in 2016. Due to the event’s success, students, employers and community partners now reach out to York’s Career Centre requesting participation in the event before it has even been scheduled.

Key Findings

During this session, participants learned about the:

  • Challenges of providing career support to students with disabilities;
  • Various strategies used at York University’s Career Centre to engage students with disabilities;
  • Importance of involving employers and external community partners in providing career service to students with disabilities;
  • The evolution of an event designed to:
  1. provide knowledge and access to employment supports for York students and recent graduates with disabilities;
  2. promote networking opportunities for students with disabilities, community partners and employers; and
  3. facilitate the development of self-advocacy skills for students with disabilities in the workplace and to encourage peer connections among York students and recent graduates with disabilities.

Next Steps

York University will continue to partner with community organizations and employers to offer innovative programming to engage students with disabilities in career development and promote student success.  

Implications for Career Education

Delegates learned the value of connections between employers/community partners and students with disabilities to create an event designed to increase career success for students with disabilities. 

References

Career Success Symposium website: http://careers.yorku.ca/success/

Career Success Symposium 2016 (Michael Landsberg): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ruWIWu4T6M8

Career Success Symposium 2017: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ApxtF7iQFHU

Career Centre Disabilities website: http://careers.yorku.ca/students-and-new-grads/disabilities/

Student Blog: http://yublog.students.uit.yorku.ca/blog/2015/02/24/career-success/

VP, Students Blog: http://vpstudents.yorku.ca/vpsnews/2016/07/13/exploring-pathways-to-career-success-for-students-with-disabilities/

Faculty & Staff newsletter: http://yfile.news.yorku.ca/2016/04/18/career-success-symposium-for-students-with-disabilities-features-tsns-michael-landsberg/

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