April 17, 2020
At Seneca, 12 per cent of full-time students have self-identified as having a disability. This equates to 3,360 learners who deal with barriers related to vision and hearing loss, mobility constraints, dyslexia, eating disorders, anxiety, depression and substance abuse.
Thanks to the CIBC Focus on Accessibility Program, Seneca has introduced new supports, including assistive technologies (speech recognition, screen reading software), workshops, apps that promote academic success, information videos about counselling options and a fund to help HELIX entrepreneurs remove barriers from workplaces in Canada and internationally.
“We value the uniqueness that each and every one of our team members brings to the table, and we are committed to fostering a culture of belonging,” said Jackie Goldman, Seneca graduate and Senior Vice-President, Total Rewards, CIBC. “Diverse teams working in an inclusive environment can better understand and respond to our clients’ needs, which helps us achieve CIBC’s goal of building a strong, innovative, relationship-oriented bank.”
CIBC’s contribution to Seneca is one of the ways it is demonstrating leadership in promoting inclusion and diversity in the workplace. The bank believes this is critical to leveraging uniqueness to develop innovative teams that can provide the best service to a diverse client base.
While the CIBC Focus on Accessibility Program will help students overcome barriers to their education, it will also help prepare them to be productive members of professional teams for organizations like CIBC. According to Ms. Goldman, CIBC is looking for hires who are always professional and supportive.
“We want people who are caring,” she said. “People who listen, act with compassion and understand unique needs.”
CIBC will also become Seneca’s sponsor for various activities related to Global Accessibility Awareness Day in May.
Christine Blake, Seneca’s Dean of Academic Learning Services, says CIBC’s support will help raise awareness about the services offered at Seneca and reduce stigmas associated with disabilities of all kinds.
“As our counsellors and learning strategists work to keep up with increasing demand and service complexity, there is a need for innovative approaches to providing students the support they require, when they require it,” she said.