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Access to Success: A Guide for Employers

The NEADS Online Work System (NOWS)

By Jennison Asuncion

The National Educational Association of Disabled Students’ NEADS Online Work System (NOWS) is the organization’s latest technology-based advancement. NOWS leverages the power of the Internet, empowering our members to independently seek out and apply for meaningful summer, part-time and/or full-time employment as well as internship opportunities. In tandem with this mission, NOWS provides a unique bilingual channel for Canadian employers to advertise employment opportunities to a targeted audience, namely, post-secondary students and graduates with disabilities. Moreover, it will provide employers with the largest searchable database of its kind of post-secondary educated candidates with disabilities in Canada.

Two years ago, the National Educational Association of Disabled Students (NEADS) received funding through the Office of Learning Technologies (OLT), Human Resources Development Canada to develop CampusNet. At that time, the objective was to launch an online community of learning, where student leaders with disabilities could share and exchange advocacy-related strategies, best practices and other relevant information regarding what was taking place on their campuses with like-minded peers. Recognizing that a logical next step was to address the employment needs of these students upon graduation, we applied for and received additional funding to add tools and resources to aid in the transition from school to work. The NEADS Online Work System (NOWS) is a component of this focus on employment. Other tools include resumé writing tips, interview techniques, and employment search advice.

NOWS finds similarities with, but never claims to be as robust as, other Internet-based job resources such as Monster or Workopolis. For example, employers cannot conduct any searches based on the information contained within candidates’ resumes. Rather, one will only be able to search based on information provided by candidates in their registration profile (e.g., job category for which they are seeking employment). Based on this information, one would then need to download and review individual resumés. Likewise, candidates are unable to use keyword searching as part of their job search exercise, a feature that one can find on many web- based job sites.

Nevertheless, with increasing numbers of students with disabilities entering into and completing post-secondary education, there is certainly a need for a service such as this to exist. Now more than ever, NEADS is seeing increasing numbers of students with disabilities graduating into the workforce, actively pursuing the same types of competitive positions as their non-disabled peers. Moreover, these students are also seeking part-time employment during school, or internships to complete their degrees. It is assumed that recruiting and retaining such individuals, would be a cornerstone of any company’s hiring equity practices. With this in mind, NEADS hopes that whether it is via your campus career and placement services office, or similar unit within your organization, your company will consider NOWS as part of your overall staffing strategy.

For more information about NOWS or to register, visit www.nows.ca or contact the NEADS office at (613) 526-8008.


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