Mohawk partners with George Brown College, CHHA to address barriers to employment for deaf and hard of hearing Ontarians
The Ontario government is investing over $750,000 through the Ontario Labour Market Partnerships program to support a new initiative dedicated to the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community across the province. This investment, led by Mohawk College in partnership with George Brown College and the Canadian Hard of Hearing Association (CHHA), will collect, analyze, and understand multifaceted data of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Ontarians while providing employers with opportunities to further support Deaf and Hard of Hearing individuals in the workplace.
The partners will work together over the next year to give Deaf and Hard of Hearing individuals a higher profile and greater representation in Ontario. The most significant intention is to collect information which will improve Ontario’s ability to investigate, understand, and address employment and training opportunities in order to better serve the province’s Deaf and Hard of Hearing adults. Through focused collection and organization of data necessary, targeted to enhance employment opportunities for this demographic, Ontario will lead Canada in a pursuit to establish viable employment pathways for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community. By understanding more about the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community, streamlined access to supports needed to strengthen employment pathways and fill current job vacancies can be provided. Working together, Mohawk College, George Brown College and CHHA will connect with local organizations who have identified current labour shortages and who want to offer supportive careers for Deaf and Hard of Hearing individuals.
Through this initiative, the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development is confident that providing further support to the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community and addressing labour shortages across Ontario will ultimately produce a stronger, better education and employment future for Ontario as a whole.
“We need all hands on deck to fill the generational labour shortage Ontario currently faces. I am proud to support a project that will connect deaf and hard of hearing people with pathways to meaningful careers and help local businesses find the skilled workers they need.”
- Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development
“With the support of the Ministry, Mohawk College is pleased to collaborate with George Brown College and the Canadian Hard of Hearing Association to address critical workforce priorities for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. This partnership will establish some best practices that will help advance the economic and social well-being of this community.”
- Ron J. McKerlie, President & CEO, Mohawk College
“This project will allow the partners to create a gateway that would enable employers to see the value of hiring Deaf and Hard of Hearing Ontarians to strengthen their workforce. We are resilient and possess the necessary skills to meet the demands of today’s economy.”
- Bruce Belcher, Employment Pathway Lead – Deaf Empowerment Program, Mohawk College
“This project exemplifies the value of cross-sector collaboration and will provide a foundation of evidence and best practices for change. By working collectively to remove barriers and increase access to economic opportunities, we can positively impact the quality of life for everyone.”
- Lee Pigeau, National Executive Director for the Canadian Hard of Hearing Association
“In today’s dynamic economic environment, developing an inclusive and diverse workforce is a top priority for employers to drive their competitive success. This innovative initiative will improve pathways to meaningful jobs for members of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community.”
- Jim Vanderveken, Dean, Centre for Community Partnerships and Experiential Learning at Mohawk College
"We are excited that this first-of-it's-kind initiative brings together employers and Deaf and Hard of Hearing persons with lived experience for open dialogue that addresses both accessible employment and labour shortages. This solution-focussed collaboration will create a solid framework that can be used as a model of success throughout Ontario."
- Matt Foran, Manager, Academic Upgrading Programs, School of Work and College Preparation at George Brown College
- The Ontario Deaf and Hard of Hearing Community and Employment Access Project is 12-months in duration, concluding on October 14th, 2022.
- Mohawk College, George Brown College and CHHA have committed to engaging with a minimum of 10 employers within Ontario who provide entry-level positions across a multitude of industries.
- Data collection for employers and community members will include surveys, questionnaires, interviews, and focus groups.
- In 2012, approximately 5,121 Deaf and Hard of Hearing individuals received ODSP which totalled over $90 million.
- In 1998 the Canadian Association of the Deaf (CAD) undertook a formal and rigorous data collection project involving more than 1,000 people in the Deaf community. The study found that only 20% of Deaf Canadians are fully employed; 42% are under-employed, and 38% are unemployed.