Seeing the ability in disability: Magnet removing employment barriers

Tim Rose, Diversity Project Lead, working with his service dog.(Lindsay Sganga/Ryersonian Staff)

Tim Rose, Diversity Project Lead, working with his service dog.(Lindsay Sganga/Ryersonian Staff)

Job-searching is a difficult task, but for those living with a disability, it can be nearly impossible.

A Ryerson startup is trying to change that by matching people with disabilities with interested employers.

Magnet, which started out of Ryerson’s Digital Media Zone (DMZ), has launched the Disability Discovery Project (DDP), a program that aims to remove employment barriers for those with disabilities and bring more people with disabilities into the workforce.

Fifty three per cent of Canadians with disabilities are unemployed.

Tim Rose, Magnet’s diversity project lead, used to be part of that statistic.

Despite his master’s in human rights law, he was unemployed for over four years. Rose said he wants the DDP to be the help he wishes he had.

“I went through self-doubt, I went through the struggle. I went through all of that pain, and so when I came on the team here, my goal (was) to really make Magnet the system that offers part of the solution,” Rose said.

When a job-seeker creates their Magnet profile, they can select the Diversity Self-ID feature. This allows them to disclose if they have a disability — though no other details are disclosed for privacy reasons.

Rose said the project will also be useful in collecting employment data about those with disabilities, including how many are finding employment and the types of jobs they are applying for.

“There’s discrimination, there’s stigma, there’s fear, there’s all these things,” Rose said. “What we’re trying to do at Magnet is just change a little bit of that and bring awareness and shine a much needed light on disability employment for the larger community.”

Magnet currently has more than 70,000 job-seekers and 6,000 employers in its growing database.

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