Lime Connect hosts recruitment event for students with disabilities
University students with disabilities often face graduation with a measure of dread: Will they experience challenges in the workplace? Should they disclose their situation and request accommodations…or simply try to ‘fit in’?
Lime Connect recognizes these legitimate concerns and offers a platform where disabilities are supported, and their accompanying strengths, celebrated.
Founded in 2006, the North American not-for-profit “represents the largest network of high-potential university students and professionals - including veterans - [with] disabilities in the world.” Through its mission to rebrand disability through achievement, Lime Connect contests assumptions about ability and connects corporate partners with undiscovered talent.
“Lime Connect understands that people with disabilities shouldn’t be put in a box,” observed Chanel Washington, financial analyst at Goldman Sachs. “Lime was the only group that understood this need…by helping [us]...advocate for [ourselves] in the workplace.”
While other organizations assist with job placements, fewer focus on developing career paths. As Karen Kelsey, Lime Connect’s relationship manager, reflects, the organization supports individuals to “maximize their abilities to achieve personal and professional success.”
The very name in fact, alludes to its mandate; a ‘fresh’ approach (‘Lime’) to introducing talented individuals to corporate partners (‘Connect’).
According to former Facebook software developer Phaedra Randolph, Lime Connect “helped empower me to own my disability” and to rather see it as added value. “I never realized it could be an asset in some way.”
Gabriel Jimenez, associate product marketing manager for Google, echoed; “[With Lime, I realized] I’m part of the solution and not necessarily part of a problem.”
Lime Network members come with a range of (often invisible) disabilities such as learning and attention issues, hearing or visual impairments, chronic pain, neurodiversity, or mental health conditions. In addition to career coaching and leadership programs, they can also access resources on disclosure and intersectionality (the overlapping of multiple forms of identity such as race, gender and ethnicity).
Canadian corporate partners include global companies such as Microsoft and IBM, as well as Rogers, Bell, CIBC, and TD – with more to come – for positions ranging from entry level to senior management.
How can you join the Lime Network? After completing a personal profile, students and professionals with disabilities can access all of Lime Connect’s resources including recruitment events such as the in-person one held in downtown Montreal on November 2.
Through the dual mission of empowering candidates as well as supporting corporate partners, a successful match is more likely, with internships frequently becoming full-time. Accommodations are often more about creativity and flexibility than financial expense.
Kelsey maintains, “Lime Connect levels the playing field for disabled students and professionals” and benefits all involved. In fact, global business leader Accenture noted that organizations with disability engagement tend to have greater sales than their peers.
Hiring people with disabilities therefore is, in Lime Connect’s words, “smart” - not “nice,'' enabling individuals to find fulfillment and demonstrate their worth.
“You have nothing to lose and everything to gain by joining,” concluded Randolph. “So I would say, go for it.”
To learn more about Lime Connect, go to www.limeconnect.com.