McMaster’s Employee Accessibility Network
Established in 2017, the Employee Accessibility Network (EAN) was created for employees with disabilities at the University to connect, network, and collaborate. The Network was also developed to act as one of the main consultative groups to the McMaster Accessibility Council, and the University at large, in areas of:
- Disability inclusion;
- Workplace Accommodations; and
- Aspirational accessibility and disability-inclusion planning for Disabled employees / employees with disabilities.
Comprised of more than 100 list serve members and growing, the EAN also offers a lens of lived experience to institutional work carried out that may disproportionately impact employees with disabilities in the absence of consultation.
This past year, the Network has worked together to offer each other peer support, engage in cro
ss-Network skill-sharing, and to consult and provide feedback and support in several areas of in
stitutional accessibility planning and review, including:
- Human Resources Services updated (Fall, 2021) Workplace Accommodations Implementation Guidelines for People Managers and Supervisors
- December 3rd, International Day of Persons with Disabilities 2021 Event Planning and Community Building
- National Accessibility Week, 2022 Event Planning and Community Building
- Designing Accessible Resumes for Employees with Disabilities / Navigating Accessibility and Accommodation in Employment skill share sessions (EAN Members only)
- Navigating Chronis Illness at Work skill share sessions (EAN Members only)
To join the EAN’s confidential list serve and/or attend regular online meetings, please contact the AccessMac Program in the Equity and Inclusion Office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contributors: The Employee Accessibility Network
Career Growth with Career Access Professional Services
This year, Career Access Professional Services expanded employment support for students and alumni who identify as neurodivergent. In collaboration with ASpectrum Inc. and Ready, Willing, and Able, integration coaching (job coach) services were made available under the Diversity Inclusion Award funding. These supports resulted in additional co-op and employment placements, skills development and employment growth opportunities for neurodiverse students and alumni.
CAPS Collaborations: CAPS collaborated with employers, campus partners, and government representatives to raise accessibility awareness and to increase opportunities for equity-deserving students.
- 145 Student Work Placement Program (SWPP) opportunities for students who self-identified as living with or having a disability
- 20+ partner workshops on accessibility
- Lime Connect: Intersecting Identities of Hispanic/Latinx People Who Are Disabled
- Discover Ability Network: Get Hired for Ability Now
- Honest Conversation: Workplace Accessibility for the Hard of Hearing
- Employer Panel: Understanding Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace (Workforce Planning Hamilton, City of Toronto, Ontario Chamber of Commerce, EY Canada)
Contributors: Katherine Hesson-Bolton (Manager, Talent Partnerships and Employer Relations, Student Success Centre) and, Anna Magnotta (Student Success Centre)
Increasing Workplace Transition Support for Students with Disabilities in partnering with FIPCD
The Career Access Professional Services (CAPS) team in the Student Success Centre partnered with the Federal Internship Program for Canadians with Disabilities (FIPCD) to support increased inclusion for Canadians with disabilities who have little or no previous work experience. The FIPCD is a two-year, paid internship, funded by the federal public service for Canadians with disabilities. This partnership enhances opportunities to build skills and gain experience, demonstrating a commitment to accessibility, inclusion, and diversity in the workplace, while reducing barriers to employment. Applicants are supported by the CAPS team with their application, interview, and workplace accommodation needs, as well as transition to work supports. Since launching this initiative in the spring, we have already had a successful applicant who was hired within this program.
Contributors: Katherine Hesson-Bolton (Manager, Talent Partnerships and Employer Relations, Student Success Centre), Jillian Perkins-Marsh, and Tanya Kett (Career Counsellor, Student Success Centre)
Student Success Centre for National Accessibility Week 2021
As part of McMaster’s National Accessibility Week (May 30 to June 3, 2022), the Career Access Professional Services (CAPS) team in the Student Success Centre offered two sessions: 1) a panel on addressing diversity on your resume and 2) a workshop on accommodation and disclosure in the workplace. The panel brought together career professionals, a campus employer and a CAPS student to create a welcoming virtual environment. The group discussed self-improvement, resume gaps, personal intersectionality, professional experiences and resources for support. The second session on accommodation and disclosure in the workplace was co-facilitated by a senior staff member from Ontario Public Service to bring awareness and insights from an employer perspective.
Contributors: Tanya Kett (Career Counsellor, Student Success Centre), and Katherine Hesson-Bolton (Manager, Talent Partnerships and Employer Relations, Student Success Centre)
Disability at Work in Canada 2021 Conference
The Student Success Centre was selected for a second year to present at the Disability at Work in Canada 2021 conference: Campus and community partnerships, an inclusive foundation during the student journey and beyond convocation.
- Katherine Hesson-Bolton, Manager, Talent Partnerships and Employer Relations, Student Success Centre
- Aditi Pathengay, Biotech Engineering student
- Kate Brown, Accessibility Program Manager, AccessMac, Equity and Inclusion Office
- Karen Clarke, Founder and CEO, ASpectrum Inc.
Each presenter shared their individual engagement with CAPS profiling impacts on the student journey, relationship cultivation, and successful campus and community recruitment and placements enabled by Career Access Professional Services (CAPS) funding and supports.
CAPS provided tickets for students and alumni to attend the conference. One conference networking session resulted in a former student meeting an employer who later hired them.
Contributors: Katherine Hesson-Bolton (Manager, Talent Partnerships and Employer Relations, Student Success Centre), and Anna Magnotta (Student Success Centre)
AccessResolve Workplace Accommodation Platform
AccessResolve is a Human Resources (HR) platform developed by McMaster Engineering students in consultation with the AccessMac Program in the EIO, the Career Access Professional Services Program in the Student Success Centre, and Employee Accessibility Network members, that enables accessible workplace environments for people with disabilities by supporting employers to manage workplace accommodation requests in a simple, fast, and compliant manner. The implications for the launch of this platform include improved productivity, satisfaction, and accessibility for employees with disabilities in the workplace, as well as improved and streamlined case management processes for HR professionals. As of time of this submission, AccessResolve has won 2nd place in the Startup Survivor Pitch Competition and 2nd place in the World’s Challenge Challenge at McMaster University.
Contributors: Areeb Khawaja, Mohit Anil Lal, Shivalika Sirohi, Kate Brown (Equity and Inclusion Office), Katherine Hesson-Bolton (Manager, Talent Partnerships and Employer Relations, Student Success Centre), Lynn Armstrong (Okanagan Special Project Funding), and the McMaster Employee Accessibility Network