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Paid Internships are Helping Graduates with Disabilities

By Jobseeker

Hiring trends from 2015-16 show significant growth in the recruitment of recent graduates with disabilities through paid internships.

Statistics from Career Edge, Canada’s largest provider of paid internships, report that 31% more recent graduates with disabilities secured employment opportunities compared to the previous year[1], citing a change in employer commitment and candidate engagement.

Half of the reported growth was concentrated among financial institutions and public services, with more employers in these sectors augmenting their diversity, inclusion, and accessibility mandates. Together, these sectors increased the total number of graduates with disabilities hired by 15%.

Graduates are also finding greater success in securing employment through paid internships, as more are willing to have open conversations about their disability, explains Graham Sogawa, Vice President of Partnerships and Recruitment at Career Edge.

“We changed our strategy in terms of how we engage with recent grads in our talent pool,” he said. “We started having more open and constructive discussions around accommodations, which has made a big difference when it comes to helping our candidates navigate the recruitment process.”

By the time they graduate from college or university, the majority of new graduates have learned to adapt and accommodate their disability. But when it comes to seeking employment, many candidates choose not to disclose a disability or avoid making requests for accommodations with employers, fearing that it may diminish their chances.

This has been a major stumbling block for those looking to make the transition from school to work, but Sogawa credits the shift in candidate engagement as having a profound impact on their ability to overcome any barriers that their disability may have posed.

“We’re able to have conversations that candidates may not feel comfortable having with a prospective employer,” Sogawa said, “We’re helping them to understand that their ability to overcome adversity is an achievement worth sharing, not something to hide.”

A key factor contributing to the success of recent graduates with disabilities in securing employment through paid internships is a shift in attitudes towards disability disclosure and accommodation. Graham Sogawa, Vice President of Partnerships and Recruitment at Career Edge, notes that the organization revamped its engagement strategy with recent graduates, fostering open and constructive discussions around accommodations. This approach has empowered candidates to navigate the recruitment process with confidence, mitigating concerns about disclosing their disability or requesting accommodations.

Despite the challenges faced by individuals with disabilities in the job market, many recent graduates have learned to adapt and accommodate their disabilities by the time they complete their education. However, reluctance to disclose disabilities or request accommodations remains a significant barrier to employment for some candidates. By encouraging candidates to embrace their experiences and accomplishments in overcoming adversity, Career Edge aims to dispel stigmas surrounding disability in the workplace and foster a culture of inclusivity.

Ultimately, the positive hiring trends observed among recent graduates with disabilities reflect a growing recognition among employers of the value and talent that individuals with diverse backgrounds bring to the workforce. By prioritizing inclusivity and actively engaging with candidates with disabilities, organizations can tap into a rich pool of talent and create a more vibrant and diverse work environment.

[1] Statistics compare 2014-15 to 2015-16 and relate to Career Edge’s fiscal year (April 1 to March 31).


If you have an inclusive corporate culture and are looking for great candidates – with or without disabilities – to join your team, fill out our contact form and let us help you find the talent you’re looking for. 

networking tips

Networking not working? Tips from Career Edge Alumni Network

By Jobseeker

On Thursday, June 2nd, over 60 former interns of Career Edge Organization’s three paid internship programs  gathered at an event hosted by us in downtown Toronto called “Grow Your Network, Grow Your Career!” The event, exclusively for our former interns (or Alumni) aimed to offer some information and networking tips as well as some online social tools and the opportunity to put what they’ve learned to practice during a reception as well as a structured group activity.

We were very fortunate to be joined by Paul Yeung, who volunteered to be our guest speaker. Paul not only delivered a funny (and, at times, brutally honest) and informative presentation, but he also facilitated a group networking activity. He was kind enough to let us share some of his networking tips with our audience. Here are our favourites:

1. Humour & Socializing

Look for common ground. This could be something that is central to Canadian culture (Paul suggests following hockey for water cooler conversation) or something broader and more universal, like parenting, marriage, etc.

We think this is great advice. Personally, I love to hear about different cultures. One thing most people have in common is a curiosity about the world and a desire to travel.

2. Do not cross the line between networking & friendship

Paul told Alumni that he is generous with his time and always willing to talk to others and give advice, but warns that his Facebook and LinkedIn networks are personal and for well-established networks only.

Paul is spot on.  Whether you are asking for or offering your time, it’s very important for all involved to establish well defined boundaries early on.

3. It is about what you have to offer, NOT just asking for things… remember to PASS IT FORWARD.

While it’s important to be aware of what your needs and gaps are, also think about what you might have to offer others. Go into networking events prepared to ask questions and listen. Offer solutions and, when appropriate, your insight or even your time. What goes around comes around!

4. Work on your 30 minute commercial

Paul recommends everyone have an “elevator pitch” about themselves, just as business do. This will help you to always be prepared to talk about yourself in a short, concise way while confidently highlighting key points. But also remember to listen carefully, and adjust your message to your audience.

5. Take the initiative and follow-up

Whether it is with a thank-you card or simply a note to say hello, following up is an important step in building meaningful relationships.

To this I would also add a word of warning: It could be very off-putting if your first post-networking contact with someone is a big ask. This is something that you should work up to slowly, once you have built trust and credibility. In your note, simply let that person know that you enjoyed meeting them and hope to stay in touch. Offer them something, such as information or an introduction to another contact. When the timing is right, offer to meet and chat over coffee – your treat.

About Paul Yeung

Paul is a fiercely proud Canadian who believes strongly that both the public and private sectors have important roles to play in the development of public policy initiatives critical to determining the future path of our country. Since 2007, Paul has held the position of senior manager, regulatory and government affairs, with the Royal Bank of Canada. Prior to joining the bank, he was a senior policy advisor to the Minister of Finance, ON.

Paul has gained a greater understanding of Canada by studying abroad and by gaining international experience that has included internships in Northern Ireland, Belgium and China. He was a consultant with the External Affairs department of the World Bank for more than two years. Paul is passionate and dedicated to making a difference in his community. He enjoys lecturing at York University’s Emerging Global Leaders Program, was appointed by the Government of Ontario to the Trillium Foundation’s Grant Review Team, and plays hockey year round. Paul completed his undergraduate studies in history at Wilfrid Laurier University (1996), and an M.A. in International Relations and Economics from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (2002) in Bologna, Italy and Washington, D.C. Paul is married with two young daughters.

6 Career Limiting Moves in High-Tech Times

By Jobseeker

Commonly known career limiting moves (or CLM’s) have been around for ages and many have stood the test of time. Dressing inappropriately at work is just as hazardous today as it was in the ‘50’s – only our definition of “appropriate” has probably changed over the years.

But with the advent of technology, there are more ways now than ever to limit your career. So if you’re looking to get fired or skipped over for that coveted promotion, read on and follow these six simple steps!

If you think we missed something, please add your career limiting moves to our list by commenting below!

1. Complaining About Clients on Social Media

If you want to lose clients and, subsequently, your job, a great way to do this is to log on to Twitter and start bashing them publicly in real time. This is especially effective since your client can probably cross-reference the time and date of your tweet with your last meeting or phone call and figure out if you’re referring to them!

Not only might you insult that particular “difficult” client, but you are showing all your customers or potential customers your character and that you’re willing to slight them in public forums. Who wants to work with someone like that?

2. Sharing Proprietary or Confidential Info Online

There is nothing wrong with being proud of your work. Just remember one thing: it’s not your work!

Yes, you may have developed/written/created it, but it actually belongs to the organization or clients who paid you to do it.

Blogs, social networks, and file-sharing sites like or SlideShare make it easier than ever to share that amazing presentation, report or creative work you did, especially if you’re thinking about beefing up your online portfolio. But consider how your boss or client would feel if they came across their proprietary work online – especially if it contained confidential info about their organization.

Also consider – what if the competition saw it? If you have to think twice about sharing it, don’t share it.

3. Plagiarizing

Plagiarizing is a great way to lose your job and even get into some legal trouble (you know, just for fun). But if you really want to make it easy for them, just steal your work right off of the internet. That way, all he or she has to do is copy and paste a line from your report and plop it into Google. This will lead them right to the source.

4. Bash Your Employer (Current or Former) Online

This one is a pretty obvious career-limiting move. By now, most people should know it’s not smart to bash your boss or the organization that employs you online, whether it’s Twitter, Facebook, or any other forum – no matter how “private” you think it is.

Still, it never ceases to amaze me how easily common sense escapes us. Case in point: a friend of mine hated his old job at a large private corporation, but fortunately, he was able to land his dream job and part amicably with the old employer.

He was happy to know he could always go back for references or other opportunities. That is, of course, until he created a Facebook page called (something to the effect of) “I worked at ABC company, and all I got was this lousy t-shirt,” which was dedicated to sharing how much he disliked working there. Thankfully, he has since followed my advice and taken it down.

5. Make Your Not-so-tech-savvy Boss Feel Bad

Organizational leaders are often superhuman beings with a million things on the go at once. They work long hours, often travel, juggle overlapping meetings and are putting out more fires than the fire department. But alas, nobody is perfect!

Many senior leaders are of generations that did not grow up with computers or iPhones, let alone the internet in their jacket pockets. In fact, they may have already been in the workforce for decades before the internet came along.

So when a boss asks you for help with technology, don’t get frustrated or patronized and embarrass them. Be discrete and respectful, and soon, you will be seen as their go-to person.

6. Write Poor Emails

My boss once wisely said, “If you wouldn’t put it on the front page of a newspaper, don’t put it in an email!”

Never assume that your email to Jane in the cubicle next to you might not accidentally get to the CEO! The boss is one click away from receiving absolutely anything that goes out. All Jane has to do is click “forward.”

In this era of dwindling face-time, your emails are increasingly a representation of your work ethic and professionalism. It’s a sign of respect to write a professional email, even if it’s a casual message to a colleague. Plus, it is much more convenient for them to click “forward” and type “FYI” (think of how often you do this) than to have to paraphrase someone’s email because they couldn’t be bothered to use full sentences.