University’s Meighen Centre develops guide to assist university graduates with disabilities
(SACKVILLE, NB) — Mount Allison University’s Meighen Centre has developed a guide to assist students with disabilities as they transition from university to the work place.
The Transition to Employment for University Graduates with Disabilities is geared toward recent graduates in New Brunswick, but provides information that any new graduate with a disability can use.
Matt Kalichuk, a disability services advisor at The Meighen Centre, says the transition to work can be stressful for any graduate, but graduates with disabilities often have to contend with further complexities.
“When do you talk about things like disclosure? Or when or if you should identify to an employer that you may have a disability, when and if you should ask for an accommodation, what are your legal rights and obligations?” he says. “We’ve tried to demystify some of the questions students have around the transition from university into the world of employment.”
The guide came out of the Intersections and Connections Conference held at Mount Allison in April 2016. The conference planning committee elected to create the guide as a way of collecting, sharing, and building on the information and knowledge gained at the conference.
It provides information on the job search, application, and interview process, as well as disclosure, accommodation, and legal rights and obligations for graduates with disabilities. It also provides a comprehensive list of resources for people with disabilities in New Brunswick.
“I think one of the highlights is if a graduate decides they are going to disclose at any point during the process, the guide gives you the business case for hiring a person with a disability and the nine advantages of hiring a person with a disability,” he says. “It also provides information on what to do if you ask for an accommodation and it is denied.”
Kalichuk says there is a particular emphasis in the guide on invisible disabilities like learning disabilities, mental health issues, or ADHD. Unlike many physical disabilities, which are often readily apparent, people with invisible disabilities face the added decision of whether or not to disclose their disability to an employer or potential employer and accommodations for these types of disabilities often still lag behind those offered for physical disabilities.
But Kalichuk says those who worked on the guide were pleased by the number of supports they found.
“There is so much help and so much offered out there that we didn’t know was available, that students didn’t know was available,” he says. “The guide pulls them all together in a way that makes sense for students.”
Transition to Employment for University Graduates with Disabilities is available online at www.mta.ca/meighen/transition. Paper copies are also available upon request by e-mailing The Meighen Centre at firstname.lastname@example.org
The research that prompted the Intersections and Connections conference is also being published. The article Employment Outcomes of Canadian Postsecondary Students with Learning Disabilities, by Kalichuk and Dr. Lex Wilson, associate professor in the Department of Psychology, will appear in the January 2018 issue of The Canadian Journal of Career Development.