ODEN Launches Jobs Ability Canada; Exclusive Canadian Operator of Unique New AI-based Platform Connecting Businesses in Hiring Mode With Job Seekers Who Have a Disability
WHITBY, ON — Under an exclusive licensing agreement with Albany, NY-based Our Ability, The Ontario Disability Employment Network (ODEN) today is launching a new division — Jobs Ability Canada, a new job-search platform built specifically for people who have a disability, using cutting-edge artificial intelligence (AI) technology.
“This is an exciting day of growth for us at ODEN,” says Jeannette Campbell, CEO. “With Jobs Ability Canada, we’re connecting businesses, employment service providers and job seekers using AI technology that will make it easy for businesses to access the large talent pool across Canada, and easy for job seekers who have a disability to highlight their skills and abilities.”
Adds John Robinson, CEO of Our Ability, “We’re expanding Jobs Ability across the United States, and now this exclusive agreement with ODEN gives Our Ability a presence in Canada for the first time, so that’s exciting growth for us.”
“This is an opportunity to engage the business community nation wide in a new way, with cutting-edge technology, as well as highlight the skills of individuals across Canada who have a disability, to ensure they have a pathway to employment,” says Campbell.
She adds, “Our mission at ODEN is to increase employment opportunities for people who have a disability through helping businesses reach this talent pool for their labour needs. We believe Jobs Ability Canada will deliver on that.”
There is a significant employment gap in Canada, and at the same time there’s a major labour shortage across all sectors.
The employment rate of people who have a disability is 59% compared to 80% for working-age Canadians without disabilities, according to Statistics Canada. There over 600,000 Canadians who have a disability, who are able and willing to work.
Meanwhile, there’s a 3.6% labour shortfall across all business sectors, according to a July 2021 RBC Economics report. RBC says companies will need to turn more to “under-utilized” sources of talent as the labour shortage worsens.
Jobs Ability Canada will operate as a separate, subsidiary division of ODEN, Campbell notes.
Businesses can learn about posting job opportunities; and job-seekers who have a disability can create a profile; by visiting Jobs Ability Canada (https://jobsability.ca).
Jobs Ability’s unique chatbot, named “Abi,” (short, for ability) was developed to help users create skills- and abilities-focused professional profiles so they can access employment opportunities suited to them.
“This platform is unique,” says Robinson. “It becomes more than just a profile. It’s the culmination of hundreds of skill questions, to ensure a person is considered for more than just their work history. I’m very glad we’re able to bring our new AI technology to Canada, and have ODEN run the portal exclusively.”
The AI-driven platform is the culmination of nearly two years of collaboration with Syracuse University iSchool in Syracuse, NY; Zammo Inc., a startup in San Francisco; and BlueGranite, Inc., a data and analytics firm in Portage, MI.
The project also received a grant from Microsoft’s AI for Good program.
In the U.S., the Jobs Ability platform is running on sites across the U.S. It’s operated by Disability:IN in Greater Kansas City, Minnesota and North Carolina. In Virginia, the platform is run by Virginia Ability. The newest addition is Massachusetts, where Jobs Ability is run by Work Without Limits.
For more information, and to arrange interviews, contact:
Dean Askin, Communications Strategist, ODEN firstname.lastname@example.org 416-818-1514 (cell)
The Ontario Disability Employment Network (ODEN), created in 2008, is a professional body of more than 140 employment service providers united to increase employment opportunities for people who have a disability. Members are from every corner of the province and support people of all disability types. Beyond Ontario, ODEN (odenetwork.com) has connections with organizations in other provinces and territories of Canada.