The University of Waterloo has received a grant that aims to further enhance the work term experience for all Waterloo co-op students, including those with disabilities.
The one-year, Enabling Change Project funding enables the Waterloo Co-op AccessAbility Team (WatCAT) to develop a support model to ensure students with disabilities can engage in the University’s robust co-operative education program.
“The project team, which includes staff from AccessAbility Services (AAS), Co-operative Education, the Centre for Career Action and students, is thrilled to embark on this innovative and essential project designed to enhance the accessibility and inclusivity of co-op,” says Jennifer Gillies, manager of AccessAbility Services and project team member. “The project will have a significant impact on our students and demonstrates the University’s commitment to supporting equity and inclusion within our campus.”
One of the main objectives of the project is to encourage more students with disabilities to access services that enable them to be more successful in co-op. The project will also support employers in providing an inclusive co-op experience for students with disabilities.
WatCAT will create a screening tool to address gaps within students’ essential skills and direct students with disabilities to targeted support services (e.g., AccessAbility Services). The project will also develop processes that support individual student needs and accommodations when participating in co-op.
“Co-op provides university graduates with the experience and enhanced skills employers are looking for,” explains Richard Wikkerink, Manager, Centre for Career Action. “Providing opportunities for all students to meaningfully participate in this hallmark Waterloo program will enhance the student experience for all.”