Career Edge is a not-for-profit organization that helps university students get experience through internships. Its creators, in talking to youth, found that they would like to see more co-op and internship opportunities, Sandra MacInnis explained.
Career Edge offers special internships to people with disabilities through Ability Edge. There are positions for university, college, and high school graduates. The internships last six, nine, or 12 months. Students can apply online to work with leading Canadian companies. They receive accommodation and career counselling, and a monthly payment of $1,500.
A pilot project was carried out, and the program was expanded in 2001 to six cities, with many companies taking part.
Why take an Ability Edge internship? It provides experience, mentorship, exposure to different careers and industries, networking opportunities, a chance to build self-esteem and develop work-related skills, on-the-job training, and a doorway to full-time employment.
Career Edge ensures that participants get quality internships in their chosen field. There is a toll-free number and e-mail access, with 24-hour response to inquiries. The host must follow a code of conduct, and surveys and regular phone calls help Career Edge keep tabs on the intern's situation.
Ability Edge offers opportunities in numerous fields, including accounting, customer support, marketing, HR administration, project co-ordination, and risk reporting. Some companies will also build a position around an exceptional candidate.
The program is working well and has led to employment for a majority of participants, MacInnis concluded.