Calgary Job Search Strategies Forum Report
NEADS Web-based Employment Resources
Jennison Asuncion, Senior Advisor for NEADS, Co-director of the Adaptech Research Network, IT Accessibility Consultant
NEADS is a consumer-based cross-disability association that provides support to people with both all types of disabilities. Jennison Asuncion has been involved with NEADS since 1994, first serving as a member of the executive on the board of directors and now as a Senior Advisor.
Asuncion said the organization’s objective is to advocate “for full access to post secondary opportunities and employment opportunities.” NEADS is a member group of the Council of Canadians with Disabilities, and its board includes people from each province, one territory representative, and one non-provincial representative.
NEADS links with colleges, universities, recent graduates, employers, and disability organizations. It supports activities including research, and provides information on financial aid and specialized funding. Web-based resources available to members include an email discussion list called NEADS-L that addresses topics such as employment issues and campus issues.
NEADS has a national scholarship program called the Equity Through Education Student Awards program sponsored by BMO Capital Markets. A number of employment initiatives have been developed over the years, including the creation of an Employer Advisory Council to NEADS, the Investing in the Future Mentorship Project, Student Leadership and Employment Forums, and since 2005 the Job Search Strategies Forums. NEADS resources include employment-related publications: Employment Connections: A Transition Tool Kit for Youth With Disabilities, and Access to Success: A Guide for Employers.
Asuncion told participants that the NEADS biannual conference will be held in November 2010, in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
The free NEADS Online Work System (NOWS), launched in 2003, is available at www.nows.ca. Registering on the system means members are self-disclosing that they have a disability, Asuncion said. “That is your choice to make. Employers know they have a qualified list of employees with disabilities.” The system allows members “to post resumés and cover letters to a targeted audience of employers.” Members can search for positions and apply for employment.
Currently, 109 employers representing 25 different industries from each province and territory are registered with the NOWS site. “Top sector employers from the government, administration, social services, Human Resources, banking, finance, and health care are posting positions on the site. Specific companies include Bank of Montreal, Canada Post, GE, and Imperial Oil.”
Asuncion advised participants to contact Frank Smith, the National Coordinator, with questions via email at email@example.com, or by phone on 1-877-670-1256 or on (613) 380-8065. He also advised them to visit the websites www.NEADS.ca and www.nows.ca.