Mark Patterson, director of Magnet, speaking at the DMZ last Wednesday

Photo courtesy Clifton Li

Magnet attracts government funding

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By Brooklyn Pinheiro

A Ryerson startup scored a ton of dough on Sept. 24.

Magnet, a Digital Media Zone (DMZ) startup, is a website that connects employers with skilled candidates.

The Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities (MTCU) invested $1.2 million into the website as part of the government’s efforts to fix the lack of youth employment opportunities.

“One third of employers have difficulty finding employees with the skills they need,” said Neville McGuire, manager of communications at the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, which cofounded Magnet with Ryerson.

The website allows users to create an online profile more in-depth than a resumé. This includes multimedia aspects like videos and a career timeline. The government has teamed up with Magnet in hopes of helping students find jobs by expanding connections through this technology.

Magnet, a non-profit organization, began in 2014 in partnership with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce — which represents 60,000 employers. The site allows these employers to search for the specific skills they need in employees.

Last Wednesday MTCU got on board too. The $1.2 million investment has been used for start-up costs and connecting the current 18 postsecondary institutions involved, including Ryerson, with employers.

“We want every post-secondary on board and every large and small employer. We want this to be the go-to place for employers,” McGuire said.

Magnet was developed by Doug Walker, a Ryerson business administration alumnus, along with the assistance of students working at the DMZ. Together they created a website called WhoPlusYou which then evolved into the job portal Magnet.

“I hope to see individuals become more empowered because they have better access to the right opportunities as well as deeper market knowledge about the career paths they have chosen,” Walker said.

“We want to make jobs chase people,” said Mark Patterson, director of Magnet.

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