Resources

Job Search Handbook for People With Disabilities (Paperback)
Daniel J. Ryan

Job Strategies for People w/Disabilities (Paperback)
Peterson’s

Career Success for People With Physical Disabilities (Vgm Career Books) (Paperback)
Sharon F. Kissane

Job-Hunting for the So-Called Handicapped or People Who Have Disabilities
Richard Nelson Boiles, Dale S Brown

Meeting the Challenge of Learning Disabilities in Adulthood
Arlyn J. Roffman Ph.D

Learning a Living: – A Guide to Planning Your Career and Finding a Job for People With Learning Disabilities, Attention Deficit Disorder, and Dyslexia
Dale S Brown

Assistive Devices Program
Ontario Ministry of Health
(800) 268-6021

Brain Injury Association of Niagara
111 Church St.
St. Catharines, ON L2R 3C9
905.984.5058
http://www.bianiagara.org/site/home

Brain Injury Community Re-Entry
261 Martindale Road, Units 12 & 13
St. Catharines, ON L2W 1A1
(905) 687-6788
www.bicr.org

Canadian Hearing Society
2301 King Street
Hamilton, ON L8K 1X6
(905) 545-9931
www.chs.ca

Canadian Mental Health Association
St. Catharines Branch
15 Wellington St.
St. Catharines, ON L2R 5P7
(905) 641-5222
http://www.cmha.ca/

Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB)
115 Parkdale Ave. S.
Hamilton, ON L8K 1H1
(905) 528-8555 or toll-free 1-888-275-5332
www.cnib.ca

Learning Disabilities Association of Ontario
365 Bloor Street East, Suite 1004
Toronto, ON M4W 3L4
(416) 929-4311
www.ldao.ca

Learning Disabilities Association of Canada – Niagara Chapter
366 St. Paul St.
St. Catharines, ON L2R 3N3
(905) 641-1021
www.ldao.ca

Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada – Niagara Chapter
479D Carlton Street
St. Catharines, ON L2M 4Y6
(905) 937-7772
www.mssociety.ca/en

Ontario Disability Support Program
Ministry of Community and Social Services
http://www.mcss.gov.on.ca/en/mcss/programs/social/odsp/

Ontario Human Rights Commission
180 Dundas Street W., 7th Floor
Toronto ON M7A 2R9
1-800-387-9080
www.ohrc.on.ca/en

Ontario March of Dimes – Niagara Location
3300 Merrittville Highway
Thorold, ON L2V 4Y7
(905) 687-8484
www.marchofdimes.ca

According to the Conference Board of Canada, “beginning in 2014, if current trends continue, labour demand with exceed labour supple; therefore the projected gap will grow steadily larger. As a result, Ontario could face a shortfall of 190,000 workers in 2020 rising to 364,000 by 2025 and 564,000 by 2030.”

Hiring persons with disabilities makes good business sense. By developing a strategy to hire persons with disabilities, not only will you be tapping in to an under-utilized group of qualified employees, you’ll also be tapping into an often overlooked consumer market. It is estimated that in Canada, person with disabilities represent $25 billion in consumer spending.

(Information provided by the Ontario Disabilities Support Program and the Region of Waterloo Training and Adjustment Board, 2007)

“People with disabilities want to work for you, and they want to buy your products. With skilled and loyal employees at a premium and traditional market growth slowing, can you afford to ignore or stereotype them?” – Fortune Magazine, 1998

Q: How long did you spend job searching for your first job out of university?

I maintained positive relationships during my undergraduate studies and was offered an opportunity immediately upon graduation. I believe networking is the key to any job search.

Q: What information did you look for when researching and applying to companies (i.e. did you target Equal Opportunity Employers)?

I looked for employers that were well-known in the field, such as industry leaders and companies with credibility. I researched beyond standard job search websites, looking on websites that were specific to my field and researching companies’ websites. If a company advertised that they were an Equal Opportunity Employer, I would definitely check the relevant box on the application.

Q: Did you disclose your disability? At what stage? What was the outcome?

My first job after graduation knew I had a Learning Disability prior to hiring me, as I had developed relationships with them while I was in school. However, I just went through the process of applying to graduate school and I had a different experience. I anonymously contacted the administrative assistants in the departments I was applying to, to see if they recommended I disclose or not. Surprisingly, I was told not to disclose on my application, but to contact the disability services office and register with them. I decided to apply without disclosing, wait to get accepted and then disclose once I had started school.

Also, I think it is important for students (with learning disabilities specifically) to realize that once you are done your undergraduate degree, you usually target work and graduate studies in areas that are not related to your LD. For example, my LD is math related, and I do not look for opportunities that would requir me to use math. I now have the flexibility to make these choices.

Q: Do you require accommodations to do your job? How did your employer handle this?

Yes, I do require accommodations, but I find that most of them are built in to the work environment. I have more control over my own time management, more time to complete work, my colleagues are available to proofread my work (this is encouraged for all staff members) and there is a scheduling system in place to help keep me organized.

I find that the workload and pressure is very different in the working world than during my undergraduate degree. As a student you have the overwhelming pressure of having five exams in the span of two weeks, where as in the work world you have smaller tasks with more time to complete them. As well, you can revisit things and improve on them before they are due. Also, there is a team approach, I am not graded on individual performance, instead everyone works together to accomplish things.

Q: What information do you know now that you wish you had known then?

I was set on going to graduate school right after I completed my undergraduate degree. It didn’t work out that way, and I ended up working for two years following graduation. Looking back, I realize that working after graduation was the ideal situation for me even though I was dead set on graduate studies.

After a lot of ‘soul’ searching and as a result of working, I was able to make a much more informed decision about where I really wanted to go and, sometimes more importantly, where I didn’t want to go. Working, I have gained practical experience, which ended up being a mandatory pre-requisite for the graduate programs that I eventually selected and have now been accepted to. I am very excited to return to school in the fall, but now I know that it’s the right program to advance me in my career and not just because it was what I thought I was suppose to do after my undergrad.

Q: Any other advice for graduating student’s who have a disability?

I would recommend seeking advice from a number of different professionals. It is great to meet with a Career Counsellor and explore the program ‘Career Cruising’ offered through Brock Career Services. But, I also found it helpful to consult with a psychic (although I realize this isn’t for everyone), a life coach, my family (who know me best) and people working in the field I was interested in. I think it is very important to speak with a professional who can help you focus on what you want, someone with objectivity who will listen to you and help you draw conclusions. There might not be one conclusion and that’s o.k. You might be destined for several great careers before you come across the ‘perfect match’ if such thing exists for you. I have narrowed my choices to a desired industry, but am still far from a choosing s specific career to pursue. I think students need to realize that this process takes time (a lot of time) and is continuous. You can not make these decisions overnight and your goals will constantly be evolving.

Should You Reveal Your Disability in a Job Interview?
By Gwen Moran
October 11, 2006
Taken from DiversityInc.com

Rich Donovan’s résumé reads like a “Who’s Who” of the financial world: an MBA from Columbia Business School, positions at Citibank and the Ontario Ministry of Finance. Now an equity trader at Merrill Lynch (No. 1 on the DiversityInc Top 10 Companies for People With Disabilities list) in the company’s New York City office, Donovan is like any other trader on the high-pressure trading floor, buying and selling equity securities, including stocks and their derivatives. The only difference is that he can’t write.

“I may be the only trader on Wall Street who cannot write, but with the computerization of the market, the ability to use a stylus is not a required skill any longer,” says Donovan, who has cerebral palsy. A slight speech impediment requires that he be diligent to ensure that sensitive communications are understood. However, he says, that is good business practice for anyone.

Donovan learned about the post at Merrill through Columbia’s MBA recruiting program, and chose to self-identify early in the interview process to avoid it becoming an uncomfortable issue. He believes the visible nature of his disability gives him “expectations leverage.”

“When I deliver best-in-class results, the assessment of these results is greater than it otherwise would be,” he says. “Managers learn to adjust their expectations and position me to do the same to their managers. Therefore, as long as I continue to produce high-level results, I tend to get more exposure than if I were not disabled.”

In cases where a disability is not visible, the candidate should use his or her comfort level about self-identifying, says Nancy Starnes, vice president and chief of staff of the National Organization on Disability in Washington, D.C. While some companies allow applicants to identify disabilities on their applications, she cautions that self-identifying too early can discourage managers who are uncomfortable with dealing with disabilities from providing a face-to-face interview. So, when applying to a company that does not have a strong track record in hiring and supporting individuals with disabilities, she advises caution.

“If the individual with a disability looks at the essential job functions and says ‘I can do this and I’m excited about it,’ I don’t think their disability has anything to do with applying,” says Starnes.

At Hewlett-Packard (HP), No. 3 on the DiversityInc Top 10 Companies for People With Disabilities list, applicants are not asked to self-identify. However, the company actively recruits individuals with disabilities through e-recruiting Web sites targeted toward people with disabilities, partnerships with organizations such as the American Association of People with Disabilities, and through sponsoring a Disability Mentoring Day in many locations throughout the world, where students and applicants with disabilities are brought into the workplace to learn about opportunities with HP. Sid Reel, vice president, global inclusion and diversity at HP, says such programs are designed to make HP the company of choice among applicants with disabilities.

Donovan believes that self-identifying a disability can be a bonus, allowing him to discuss the ways in which his disability helps him do his job more effectively.

“In dealing with the disability as a reality for my entire life, I’ve become a creative problem solver and have the ability to assess a situation quickly, divine ‘out-of-the-box’ solutions, and take aggressive action quickly. This helps me immensely as a trader, as I can apply the same methodology to finding and executing trade ideas in the market.”

Reel advises that after self-identifying, people with disabilities should focus on the discussion of skills and qualifications, and they should show how they have successfully performed similar duties in the past. Being ready to discuss these issues can dispel any concern that the disability will affect job performance.

“The employer is interested in the individual’s ability to do the job with or without reasonable accommodations, and the candidate’s past accomplishments are an indication of future performance,” he says.

Starnes agrees. She uses a wheelchair and says that she’s seen looks of surprise when she rolls into a room. It’s an opportunity for the person with a disability to demonstrate how he or she can be a part of the company and add to the bottom line.

Donovan believes that people with disabilities must build a partnership with potential employers to educate them about how they can help the company meet its business goals.

“Most people don’t understand disability. It’s simply not part of their reality and that is not a fault,” he explains. “People with disabilities need to be comfortable enough with the topic themselves to bring another to acceptable comfort level. I tend to use humor and bluntness to bring others ‘down from the ledge.’ It’s hard to feel uneasy if you’re laughing, and the less you dodge the subject, the faster you can put it into the background.”