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Holland Bloorview launches one-stop-shop Employer Resource Hub

Hub aims to build employer energy and confidence to engage young workers with disabilities

Holland Bloorview’s new Employer Resource Hub is up-and-running and offers a one-stop-shop for employers interested in learning more about hiring youth with disabilities. The hub ranges from business cases for hiring youth with disabilities to tip sheets and inclusive recruiting and retention strategies to lived experience videos, all with the goal of building the confidence of employers to engage young adults with disabilities in their workplaces.

“One-stop-shop” for employers

Carolyn McDougall, the project and strategy lead for Employment Pathways at Holland Bloorview, speaks to why it matters, how it works and what she hopes the hub will accomplish.

“We wanted to create a central place where there are resources about employment and inclusion of youth with disabilities,” says Carolyn. “All young people in high school need work experience and it’s hard to get in general. Youth with disabilities and employers tend to have questions that they aren’t sure how to bring forward or who to ask, this central space aims to answer these questions and ease the transition into the workforce.”

Building more inclusive and accessible workplaces 

When asked what she wishes to accomplish with the hub, Carolyn says: “The hub is part of our work to break down systemic barriers regarding equal opportunities and employment for youth with disabilities. Employers told us they wanted to hear stories from youth and other employers to learn how to get started.”

The lived experience videos help spread awareness that youth with disabilities want to work and can work. Then we also link employers to best practice resources in inclusive employment. In someone’s journey using the hub we are hoping they find the answers they are looking for by discovering a video or resource that stands out to them and continue to explore this topic.”

Together with Holland Bloorview’s youth employment programs, the hub is helping pave the way for high school-aged youth with disabilities to gain valuable volunteer, co-op and seasonal paid work experience. These experiences are important ways for young people to build social networks, skills and the self confidence necessary for employment. While supporting youth on their journeys is a key part of building a more inclusive and accessible workforce, anti-stigma education for employers is also essential.

“Many job seekers encounter stigma in the form of myths about disability. It’s important to combat those myths through education and conversation. Employers may assume there may be costly accommodations, poor attendance or safety problems,” adds Carolyn. “Assumptions about what a person can or cannot do are also a big barrier. Instead of making assumptions, we want to engage community members in open discussion about workplace inclusion.”

For more information, visit the Employer Resource Hub.