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Job Search Forums Help Students With Disabilities Transition Successfully Into The Workplace

The National Educational Association of Disabled Students (NEADS) will be holding a job search strategies forum in Montreal on March 18, for post-secondary students and recent graduates with disabilities. This bilingual workshop will provide practical information on how to successfully transition from being a student to beginning a fulfilling career.  It is one of a series of Job Search Strategies Forums taking place across Canada, with support from BMO Nesbitt Burns' Equity Through Education program.

The interactive NEADS forums include topics such as preparation for the job market, issues around disclosure, resum� development, conducting a job search, arranging workplace accommodations, promoting your skills set, and mentoring opportunities for students and employers alike (agenda and list of speakers available at:

“Transitioning from school to work, for any person with a college or university education, can be difficult, but disabled graduates often face unique barriers and challenges,” said Frank Smith, National Co-ordinator of NEADS. 

“Most participants in our forums seek out information on how to prepare for life in the workplace from available resources such as post-secondary career centres, government employment offices, employers or recruitment agencies. Speakers – many with disabilities themselves – relate personal experiences, and provide practical tips and advice to encourage successful transitioning into the employment market.” 

“In university or college, the challenges faced by students with disabilities can range from campus accessibility to establishing equality with their peers,” according to Jason Mitschele, who chairs the NEADS project committee for the Job Search Strategies Forums.

“Even if a student with a disability overcomes these hurdles at school, they find a whole new set of challenges when they start looking for a job,” said Mitschele.  Based on his own experiences as a blind professional having successfully completed law school, Mitschele has been actively involved with NEADS since 2002, as an active member, a mentor, and a representative on the Board of Directors.

Now working as a practicing lawyer for the Department of Justice Canada, Mitschele believes the private sector has a long way to go in providing opportunities for people with disabilities.

However, he cites some companies, like BMO, which are leading the way in welcoming people with disabilities in their workplaces.

“BMO is an example for other businesses to follow,” said Mitschele.  He points out that BMO's leadership is not just in terms of funding, but also in implementing programs within the ‘corporate culture' such as BMO's Diversity and Workplace Equity council, whose employee members devote time and knowledge to organizations such as NEADS.

NEADS also benefits from BMO Nesbitt Burns' Equity through Education program.  Equity Through Education raises funds from the commissions earned from one day of trading each year.  The program supports a variety of non-governmental, charitable organizations in Canada and the U.S. that help provide advanced education to bright students who otherwise do not have the financial means or support networks to pursue their academic potential.

In 2005, Equity Through Education donated more than $200,000 to NEADS, the largest single private sector contribution ever received by the organization.  The Equity Through Education funding is being used to hold seven job search workshops in four regions across Canada.  Another feature of the project is further development and enhancement of the NEADS Online Work System. NOWS has a free targeted job site that can be accessed at, with 55 employers and more than 1,000 registered post-secondary students and graduates with disabilities.


The National Educational Association of Disabled Students is a consumer organization, with a mandate to encourage the self-empowerment of post-secondary students with disabilities. NEADS advocates for increased accessibility at all levels so that disabled students may gain equal access to college or university education, which is their right. The Association provides information on services and programs for students with disabilities nationwide, publishes a regular newsletter, and conducts research on issues of importance to its members. Members include disabled students, educators, organizations and professional service providers. NEADS is governed by a 12-person Board of Directors which represents each of the provinces and the territories.  For more information, please visit

About BMO Nesbitt Burns Equity Through Education

Many people have the capability, but lack the support and the means to pursue opportunities achieved through education.  BMO Nesbitt Burns wants to help.  Equity Through Education represents one day of trading for a lifetime of opportunity.  In its second annual fundraiser, on May 17, 2006, all of the institutional equity trading commissions earned across North America will be donated directly to organizations that improve access to education.

BMO Nesbitt Burns is a leading full-service investment bank offering corporate, institutional and government clients access to a broad range of products and services including investment and corporate banking, treasury services, market risk management, institutional investing and research.  BMO Nesbitt Burns is a member of BMO Financial Group (TSX, NYSE: BMO). 


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