The Ontario Job Opportunity Information Network (JOIN) has appointed Naguib Gouda, President of Career Edge, as a member of its board. This solidifies the organizations’ mutual goal of promoting bias-free hiring practices for persons with disabilities in Canada.

“The partnership with Career Edge means strengthening our ability to present strong talent to our Business Leadership Networks, subsequently finding sustainable employment for university students with disabilities,” says Dauna Jones-Simmonds, Executive Director of JOIN. “It also allows us to collaborate in ways that would earn us credibility and respect in the business environment, and to be more competitive in the marketplace.”

In 2006, Statistics Canada reported that people with disabilities were underrepresented in the workforce, a stark contrast to the greater percentage of people without disabilities who were employed. The study noted that 75 per cent of people without disabilities were employed compared to 51 per cent of those with disabilities. Career Edge and JOIN believe that this partnership can help increase the employment rate of persons with disabilities in Canada.

“JOIN is raising the profile of the talent that resides with our 26 Service Providers,” continues Jones-Simmonds. “As we embark on initiatives such as Virtual Career fairs that target university and college students, we believe that a partnership with Career Edge would help us to penetrate this environment.”

Career Edge has been a member of JOIN since December 2010 and has worked closely with the organization through its Ability Edge program to connect university and college graduates with self-declared disabilities with leading employers of all sizes through paid internship opportunities.

As President of Career Edge, Gouda brings C-level executive experience to the JOIN board of directors. His far-reaching background encompasses experience in senior executive positions with the Alzheimer’s Society of Canada, The Ontario Medical Association, York University and Manulife Financial. He has also been a senior volunteer with such organizations as- The Toronto Distress Centre, The Learning Partnership and The Schulich School of Business. Through his recently acquired board membership, Gouda will help strengthen the collaborative relationship between the two organizations.

“JOIN’s partnership with Career Edge reflects our shared commitment to removing employment barriers for graduates with disabilities. Our Ability Edge program gives employers access to highly motivated, high quality talent and is closely aligned with JOIN’s mandate,” says Gouda.

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