Mount Allison conference examines employment transition for University students with disabilities

28 Mar 2016

Intersections2016conferenceSACKVILLE, NB — On Friday, April 1, Mount Allison University will present “Intersections and Connections,” a one-day conference focusing on transitions to employment for university students with disabilities.

Organized by the University’s Meighen Centre for Learning Assistance and Research, the public event will welcome students, employers, service providers, practitioners, and scholars from the region to campus.

“The transition to employment is an area most university students are concerned about and students with disabilities are no exception,” says conference organizer Matt Kalichuk, a disability services advisor in the Meighen Centre. “By bringing these groups (students, scholars, service providers, and employers) together, we hope to provide a forum to help our students prepare for this next step, as well as assist employers and service providers in welcoming new employees.”

Mark Wafer will deliver the keynote address for the conference, entitled The Business Case for Inclusion. Wafer is the owner of six Tim Hortons restaurants in Toronto. Over the last 20 years Mark and his wife Valarie have hired 120 people with disabilities to fill meaningful and competitively-paid positions in all areas of the operations, from entry-level to logistics, production, and management. Wafer is also a member of the federal government’s Panel on Labour Market Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities; co-founder of Canadian Business SenseAbility, Canada’s national corporate strategy for hiring people with disabilities; a member of Ontario’s Economic Development Partnership Council; and an inaugural member of Ontario’s Champions League. He was recently inducted into the Canadian Disability Hall of Fame.

Attendees will explore the latest research and best practices in expanding accessibility from post-secondary education into the workforce for students with disabilities, with a focus on practical and effective solutions that benefit both graduates and employers.

The conference will address transitions for students with disabilities, with a focus on invisible disability, such as ADHD, autism spectrum disorder, learning disabilities, and mental illness. Following the event, conference organizers will create a guide to help students with disabilities navigate the world of employment.

“This conference is exciting because it is bringing together employers and students with disabilities to address transitioning into the workforce,” says Mount Allison University student Joseph Gothreau, who is helping to organize the event. “Students such as myself have many questions about how our disabilities are going to complicate the extremely competitive search for employment. Being able to hear from and talk directly to employers about how to effectively make this transition will benefit everyone who is attending.”

Registration is open at: The conference is open to all at no cost but organizers ask individuals to register in advance. CART services will be made available for deaf and hard-of-hearing attendees for sessions in Tweedie Hall, including the keynote address and panel discussion.

About The Meighen Centre at Mount Allison University

Mount Allison University’s award-winning Meighen Centre for Learning Assistance and Research serves students with disabilities. The Centre is nationally recognized for its work with students who have learning disabilities and includes services for students with all types of disabilities.

In addition to providing services to students, the Centre works to help those outside the Mount Allison community better understand disabilities and runs a research program to study disabilities, particularly those affecting young adults (

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