York students and graduates with disabilities recently had a chance to openly ask career-related questions within a confidential group setting.
York’s Disability Committee organized two workshops – Who Am I? and To Disclose or Not to Disclose? Interview Skills for Students with Disabilities – and a panel, made up of persons with disabilities, to discuss Connections and Supports in the Workplace for Students with Disabilities.
“The panel is an excellent opportunity for York students with disabilities to get first-hand knowledge and experience on what it is like to find employment within the GTA and Ontario as a person with a disability,” said panellist Terrance Robinson, human resources adviser with the Government of Ontario.
It also allows students with disabilities to ask questions important to them, such as if and when to disclose, said Robinson. “By being able to have these panel discussions, students with disabilities start to build their networks and reach out to professionals who have gone through what they are going through.”
The panel was launched as a pilot project in 2011 and is continuing as an annual event. It expanded this year, in response to student feedback last year, to include a broader spectrum of persons with disabilities.
The panel event also featured exhibitors from community agencies and employers dedicated to supporting persons with disabilities. Representatives could answer questions about supports and accommodations available in the workplace.
The Disability Committee is a partnership of the Career Centre and York’s Counselling & Disability Services, which represents students with learning, mental health, physical, sensory and medical disabilities. Formed in 2010, it aims to provide resources to students and recent graduates with disabilities for a seamless transition into the workforce.
Marc Wilchesky, executive director, Counselling & Disability Services, says “the Disability Committee is a wonderful example of how a collaborative partnership between two University departments can result in providing more beneficial support to students.”