25 Community Building and Engagement Beyond McMaster

Disability and Work in Canada Conference: Career Access Professional Services

In Fall 2022, the Student Success Centre’s Career Access Professional Services team collaborated with Library Accessibility Services to present at the annual Disability and Work in Canada conference. The presentation brought together a range of expertise, including student, employer and career professional perspectives to share insights on how students can diversify their resume. Additional topics included how to address employment gaps, experiences that may identify specific diversity groups, ways to incorporate experiential learning in career paths and more.

Contributors: Katherine Hesson-Bolton, Manager, Talent Partnerships and Employer Relations, Student Success Centre, Tanya Kett, Career Counsellor, Student Success Centre, Paige Maylott, Library Accessibility Assistant, Library Accessibility Service and Bei Evely, Social Sciences Master’s Student, Career Access Professional Services (CAPS) Participant

Hamilton Disability Employment Network (HDEN) Updates

The volunteer run Hamilton Disability Employment Network (HDEN) grew out of the idea that “together we are stronger,” to combat the prevalent silo effect in the employment field we needed to fill the gaps and work together to not only support each other but the job seekers with disabilities that we served who were particularly hard hit with unemployment.  With this rallying call, Program Coordinator, Elaine Logie from The Career Foundation and Site Manager, Ben Johnston from Agilec hosted the first HDEN meeting with 4 organizations representing. Now three years later, HDEN is still going strong and has grown substantially with 15 organizations and over 30 community partners representing. HDEN monthly meetings comprise guest speakers from the community and local businesses, workshops on digital accessibility and technology, and sharing best practices to improve services.

Since 2022, the network has become even more active in the community, as we hosted a Business Networking Event at McMaster Innovation Park, showcased a Canada Post job fair specifically for job seekers with disabilities and continued our annual celebration of National Disability Employment Awareness Month now in its 3rd year. We recently concluded a successful partnership with the 360[4]Youth Program at Centre3 thanks to Co-Chair Kelly Sward from St. Joes, in which McMaster student graduates created and continue to push brand recognition through the HDEN website, LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook pages. As HDEN grows we invite you to come and join the inclusion revolution!

Contributors: Elaine Logie, Agilec, Program Coordinator, and Ben Johnston, Site Manager Career Foundation, Kelly Sward, St. Joes Hospital, and student graduates and volunteers from McMaster

National Accessibility Week 2023

To celebrate significant contributions of Canadians with disabilities, and to recognize the work steadily advancing accessibility and disability inclusion, the Accessibility and Disability Inclusion Update 2021-2022 was released from the Equity and Inclusion Office with support from the McMaster Accessibility Advisory Council and the MacPherson Insitute. In addition to the release of the full update, Nusrat Mir, Accessibility Projects Coordinator compiled and promoted a wide variety of virtual and in-person events to celebrate the week on Accessibility Hub’s Events and Training Page.

Contributors: AccessMac Program, Equity and Inclusion Office 

A group of diverse individuals ranging from a wide variety of identities. Four individuals have their hands in the air waving, and they're all facing forward.

Partnering for Change (P4C)

Partnering for Change (P4C) was an inclusive, community engaged project led by Dr. Ann Fudge Schormans and Dr. Stephanie Baker Collins that included a team of seven disabled co-researchers exploring the intersection of disability, education, child welfare, employment, and youth homelessness. Forum theatre was used in the project for both data analysis and dissemination. P4C led to a second project – Mobilizing for Action (M4A) – which includes three co-researchers from P4C who are actively involved in the planning and work of M4A. The goal of M4A is to support change in how sectors involved in the lives of homeless youth with disability work. To begin the work of M4A, in March 2023, Ann, Stephanie, and the co-researchers developed and ran a three-day workshop for a diverse group of M4A community partners and representatives from other key sectors. We also conducted a forum theatre presentation on the first day of the workshop.

Ann Fudge Schormans has also been involved with the development of the S.A.F.E. Hub – an inclusive project, initiated by Lawson Ministries and inclusive of self-advocates labeled/with intellectual disabilities and community partners from child welfare, developmental services, and the education sector. One of the goals of this project is to increase awareness of and develop appropriate education and supports for sex, sexuality and parenting for people labelled/with intellectual disabilities. As part of this initiative, Ann led a forum theatre workshop on ‘re-imagining parenting’ with project self-advocates and with two co-researchers labeled/with intellectual disability from a previous inclusive project on intimate citizenship. While that project has also ended, we continue to engage audiences in forum theatre workshops.

Contributor: Ann Fudge Schormans


The Annual Accessibility and Disability Inclusion Update Copyright © 2022 by McMaster University. All Rights Reserved.

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