The David C. Onley Initiative for Employment and Enterprise Development is a partnership between the University of Ottawa, Algonquin College, La Cité and Carleton University. Together, we are working to bridge the gap between students with disabilities and employers by building pathways to meaningful employment. For the latest tips, tools and best practices on hiring students and graduates with disabilities, sign up here.

Our work allows us to uncover knowledge, develop programs and raise awareness. In doing so, we aim to help employers become more inclusive while strengthening their business and help students with disabilities find meaningful employment as they start down pathways to fulfilling careers. Our ultimate goal is to close the employment gap that exists between students with disabilities and their non-disabled peers.

French version of video

Launched in 2018, we’re a product of Carleton University’s READ Initiative. READ stands for research, education, accessibility and design. READ was founded in 2012 by two long-time accessibility champions at Carleton: Larry McCloskey, the founder of the Paul Menton Centre for Students with Disabilities; and Dean Mellway, a three-time Paralympic medalist. Since then, READ has worked with campus and community partners to support activities that led to greater accessibility for students with disabilities.

As a partnership of our city’s four post-secondary institutions, we believe in collaboration. We work with employers, agencies, secondary schools and post-secondary institutions to share knowledge and tools, and raise awareness of the barriers that prevent many students with disabilities from finding meaningful employment.

So join us. Whether you are an employer, and individual with a disability, or an organization that wants to work with us, we would like to hear from you.

The Honourable David C. Onley


Logo for the David C. Onley Initiative for Employment and Enterprise Development. En Francais: Initiative David C. Onley Pour L'Emploi Et L'Entrepreneuriat.

A few of our key terms

We have a few key terms that we use in our work that may be helpful to consider as you learn more about us.

Pathways to employment are avenues that students follow to reach meaningful employment and careers. Examples include co-ops, internships, summer employment and part-time employment.

Employment gap is the difference in the percentage of students with disabilities who are able to find meaningful jobs upon graduation from post-secondary school and the much higher percentage of students without disabilities who are able to find meaningful jobs upon graduation.

Non-visible disability is a physical or mental condition that limits a person’s movements, senses or activities and that is not immediately apparent. Examples include hearing loss, chronic pain, a sleep disorder or a mental illness such as depression.