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Bridging the gap: ADaPT's role in supporting recent graduates' career paths

Mariia's Headshot

Mariia Sozoniuk, Professional Communication (MA) ’22, is a Business Development and Customer Onboarding Specialist at a startup.

Mariia Sozoniuk enjoys her current role as a Business Development and Customer Onboarding Specialist for the startup BlueMind.App. But securing this job was difficult—an experience many new graduates can relate to. For Mariia, enrolling in ADaPT, an upskilling program, helped her secure a career that aligned perfectly with her skillset.

“The job that I do now is perfect for me because I have a lot of different experiences and interests,” she said. “I’m so happy about it.”

After earning a bachelor’s degree from the National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy in Ukraine, Mariia immigrated to Canada to study Professional Communication at Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU).

When she graduated, despite entering the workforce with a master’s degree, Mariia experienced additional challenges throughout her job hunt because she was an international student.

“I felt a lack of confidence while applying for jobs,” she said. “Honestly, facing the rejections and ghosting was something I was not prepared for.”

Mariia secured contract positions as a research assistant, initially in the Sustainable Packaging Research (SUPAR) Lab (external link)  at TMU, then with the Explanatory Journalism project (XJO). Despite enjoying the work, Mariia aspired to secure a permanent role aligned with her expertise. After discovering ADaPT through a TMU newsletter and discussing it with friends, Mariia decided she might benefit from an upskilling program.

Inside the ADaPT program

Enter ADaPT, which stands for Advanced Digital and Professional Training. This free, eight-week program helps recent college or university graduates develop job-related skills by connecting them with employers. The program aims to make it easier for graduates to transition into the workforce. For Mariia, there was the added benefit of networking with like-minded individuals.

“We organized a virtual support group where we did job-search sessions together, working on our resumes, portfolios, etc,” Mariia said. “In the breaks, we helped each other by sharing resources about cultivating an abundance mindset, handling rejection and other relevant topics.” 

A photograph of an employer presentation in the virtual classroom stream of the ADaPT program.

A photograph of an employer presentation in the virtual classroom stream of the ADaPT program.

Sangeeta Mehta, Senior Manager, Partnership Development & Career Coach, says networking is essential for building relationships, accessing opportunities, and effectively navigating career paths.

“It’s not just about who you know, but also about the relationships you cultivate and the value you bring to those connections,” she said. “By doing so, participants can unlock potential job opportunities that might otherwise remain undiscovered.”

The program comprises three learning streams: instructor-led virtual classrooms, online modules, and a LinkedIn Learning control group. Upon enrollment, participants are randomly assigned to one of these streams. Those assigned to the virtual classroom and online modules receive essential job skills training in three core areas: skills for success, digital skills, and job search skills. Participants in the LinkedIn control group are granted a LinkedIn Learning license for six months, providing them access to various courses based on their preferences.

The ADaPT program, launched in 2014, has trained more than 1,500 participants from over 100 post-secondary institutions and has a 90% job placement rate. Additionally, the program emphasizes helping groups underrepresented in the workforce secure employment. This includes those who identify as women, Indigenous, racialized, 2SLGBTQ+, and persons with disabilities. To date, 82% of participants belong to diverse groups.

In addition to learning in-demand skills such as introduction to HTML and coding, SEO and Google Analytics, and communication styles, participants also receive access to job and resource boards. 

“Participants are given practical actions for improved communication, teamwork and leadership, and coping better under pressure,” Sangeeta said. “This tool supports their job search and gives them the language to use in their interviews.”

From participant to advocate

Photo of Mariia in office conducting a presentation

Mariia Sozoniuk, Professional Communication (MA) ’22, is a Business Development and Customer Onboarding Specialist at a startup.

ADaPTers like Mariia selected for the virtual classrooms stream gain access to a one-on-one career coach who guides them through their job search. This resource was invaluable for Mariia, especially while she was interviewing for her current role.

“My career coach Megan was very emotionally intelligent,” Mariia recalled. “She would coach me on how to manage my negative emotions, how to be in a positive mindset, and how to cultivate hope and value myself.”

Mariia also received help updating her resume and preparing for her interviews. After three rounds of interviews, she was offered the job.

Mariia still works part-time with the XJO project at TMU. She also mentors ADaPTers, helping them to make the most of their time in the program. One of her mentees even successfully secured employment working with Mariia at BlueMind.App.

“I am incredibly grateful to the ADaPT team; they supported us at every step of the program and beyond,” Mariia said. “After finding a job through ADaPT, I naturally became a spokesperson for the program – it has THAT much value!”


Are you interested in leveling up your career? Click the button below and apply!  Applications close on Sunday, May 5th at 11:59pm ET.