David C. Onley Initiative

The David C. Onley Initiative (DCOI) started as an applied research project. Led by the Accessibility Institute at Carleton University and funded by the Ministry of Colleges and Universities, the project was designed to close the employment gap that exists between students with disabilities at post-secondary institutions and their non-disabled peers. The employment gap is the difference in the percentage of post-secondary students with disabilities who are able to find meaningful jobs upon graduation and the much higher percentage of students without disabilities who are able to do so.

Students with disabilities in Ontario

Ontario is home to as many as 50,000 post-secondary students with disabilities. When they graduate, they are often overshadowed by myths and overlooked by employers and hiring managers. This problem persists even though students and graduates with disabilities are educated, skilled and qualified—just like their peers without disabilities.

At the end of the first phase of applied research, we realized that more could be done to address the employment gap and other challenges faced by post-secondary students with disabilities. In particular, we saw clearly the need to assist the campus service providers that support these students and the community members who hire and support these students.

This site provides you with an overview of each of the phases of our applied research. It also supplies you with access to tools and resources we have designed and developed as part of our work. Please download a comprehensive report that details our work in the first phase of applied research.