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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

DAN event connects job seekers with disabilities to potential employers

Jason Chang, Small Business Engagement Manager for the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, displayers Discover Ability Network’s Windsor-Essex website,

by Sylene Argent

On Thursday afternoon, an informational event was hosted at the Essex Centre Sports Complex that highlighted the Discover Ability Network (DAN) program that connects job seekers with disabilities to employers looking for talent.

  The Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) is a leader of the DAN program, province-wide.

Jason Chang, Small Business Engagement Manager for the OCC, noted the DAN program was created with help from the Magnet program out of Ryerson University, which is not-for-profit, digital social innovation platform the University and the OCC created to accelerate inclusive economic growth for all in Canada by advancing careers, businesses, and communities, its website noted.

  DAN, Chang said, helps to build a business case for making hiring more inclusive in Ontario.

DAN helps to connect job seekers with disabilities to employers looking for talent through the help of an online portal.  Through employers can post job opportunities and reach out to potential hires.

  “The technology sees the skills of the candidate and tries to match that person with a [job] posting,” Chang said.

  The purpose of the informational session, and other similar events hosted in other communities, was to try and speak with employers in the area to let them know about the DAN program and perhaps get them to think differently about how they hire, he commented.

  Chang noted DAN began around two-years ago, without the online technology. The Windsor-Essex community hub, he added, was the first to be completed in the province, last November. He said it only came together because there was support in Windsor-Essex from individuals who wanted to take the next step.

  DAN has two additions to the portal: an integrated job seeker site and local regional hub site in Windsor.

  To date, he said, there are over 50 individuals with disabilities registered on the Windsor-Essex website. Now the OCC is reaching out to employers of businesses to let them know about the growing talent pool and to consider posting their employment opportunities.

  On April 15, Kevin McShan of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce: DAN Project, made a presentation to Council that highlighted this program. He asked Council to support a partnership with DAN to hold a community forum. Last Thursday’s event was the result as Council agreed to follow through with the request.  

  During the Council meeting, McShan provided information that showcased the business advantages of employing persons with disabilities and outlined guidelines on how they can hire a person with disabilities.


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