As part of B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint, 20 public post-secondary institutions have each received $75,000 in one-time funding to help learners with disabilities access training programs for high-demand job skills.
“Our priority is to make sure relevant post-secondary education and training programs are accessible to all British Columbians,” said Advanced Education Minister Amrik Virk. “This targeted funding totaling $1.5 million will assist our post-secondary institutions to help persons with disabilities develop job skills that are aligned with B.C.’s labour market.”
The funding, which comes from the Skills Development Employment Benefit, will help the 20 institutions develop and pilot innovative training programs for learners with disabilities.
“The employment rate for people with disabilities is 18 percentage points lower than for people without a disability,” said Social Development and Social Innovation Minister Don McRae. “We heard very clearly through our recent disability consultation that people with disabilities who are under employed, and those who can and want to work, need better support. This pilot is a good opportunity to explore ways to make that happen.”
The programs are designed to increase learners’ success in trades and technical training areas, as well as other programs that are in high demand in B.C.’s labour market. For example, beginning in September 2015, Kwantlen Polytechnic University will offer a foundation program in parts, warehousing, logistics and distribution specifically for students with disabilities. The program will be focused on jobs in high demand areas of the LNG sector.
“As a polytechnic university, KPU is committed to respond to regional, industry, and market needs through distinctive and relevant programming,” said Brian Haugan, dean, Faculty of Trades and Technology, Kwantlen Polytechnic University. “KPU Tech Cloverdale, in partnership with the Ministry of Advanced Education, is excited to announce the delivery of a Parts, Warehousing, Logistics and Distribution Foundation program that is specifically designed for students with disabilities. This program not only provides a pathway to apprenticeship, it also prepares students for employment in high-demand occupations within the various emerging sectors throughout B.C."
The B.C. Skills for Jobs Blueprint: Re-engineering Education and Training was launched on April 29, 2014. It outlines a number of shifts in post-secondary education, including providing better access to technical and trades-related training for learners with disabilities. The Skills Development Employment Benefit funding supports the Ministry of Advanced Education’s mandate to align training and education to jobs that support the economy.
Government’s commitment to improve access and success for people with disabilities in training and education that aligns with B.C.’s labour market demands was made in the February 2013 Speech from the Throne.
Accessibility 2024, announced in June 2014, is a 10-year action plan to make B.C. the most progressive place for people with disabilities in Canada by 2024. For more information, visit: http://ow.ly/ASEha
A backgrounder follows
Stacey McGaghey Jones
Ministry of Advanced Education
$1.5M to help students with disabilities get trained for jobs
Twenty B.C. public post-secondary institutions have each received $75,000 to improve programming and accessibility to training for high-demand job skills through a variety of means, including training for staff and instructors and new approaches to developing curricula.
British Columbia Institute of Technology will develop and pilot a carpentry curricula project rooted in universal design principles to better meet the needs of learners, including students with various disabilities.
Camosun College, Justice Institute of BC, and Selkirk College are involved in a combined project to identify gaps in current services in the system for students with disabilities and develop interventions to help inform and shape how new services are delivered.
Capilano University’s project includes the development and piloting of a set of fundamentals of academic success modules for students with disabilities, with a focus on high labour market demand areas.
The College of New Caledonia’s pilot will establish foundational resources for trades and technical instructors that support people with disabilities in trades. Trades instructors from four campuses will participate in workshops. Outcomes include a training manual for instructors, an online community network for instructors and employers, and video workshops available online.
College of the Rockies is implementing a retention alert pilot project for people with disabilities in trades / vocational programs.
Douglas College will offer workshops and webinars to enhance the skills of practitioners assisting people with serious mental illnesses to find a job. The pilot will be offered to mental health and employment practitioners within the Vancouver Coastal and Fraser Health Authorities.
Emily Carr University of Art & Design will develop and pilot a series of teaching and learning resources for faculty and staff to support students with disabilities in a fine art / design / media context. This includes workshops, training and online resources for faculty and staff and the development of a foundation seminar for students with disabilities.
Kwantlen Polytechnic University is launching a parts, warehousing, logistics and distribution adapted foundation program to support students with disabilities to access high labour market demand employment opportunities within the liquefied natural gas and supply chain sector.
Langara College will pilot a foundation course using universal design principles to benefit students with disabilities. A Universal Design for Learning toolkit will also be developed to assist faculty in implementing its principles when creating or renewing curriculum.
Nicola Valley Institute of Technology and University of the Fraser Valley have come together to develop a training program designed to inform faculty and staff about disabilities and their impact on learning.
North Island College is designing an access education construction labourer program for students living with disabilities to acquire employment skills to help them maintain work and entry level construction skills for employment opportunities as a construction labourer.
Northern Lights College will host training for trades instructors in ways to modify teaching styles to help learners with disabilities succeed. A peer mentor program will provide support to students with disabilities and link them to peers in their trade program.
Northwest Community College is delivering a basic light warehouse training program for people with a variety of barriers, including learning disabilities and mental health issues.
Okanagan College will deliver a five-week pre-gateway program for high school students with multiple barriers who wish to enroll in a dual credit program to complete their foundation studies. The pre-gateway program will focus on building readiness skills for the Okanagan College Gateway program.
Thompson Rivers University will pilot a program that will provide instructional staff working within its School of Trades and Technology a two-day course to better support students who have disabilities.
Vancouver Community College is partnering with the Vancouver School Board to offer a transitions course for students with diverse learning needs to support successful transitions from secondary school in the Vancouver school board catchment area.
Vancouver Island University is piloting a supported trades entry program to serve students with disabilities and equip them with training to work as entry level construction labourers.
Stacey McGaghey Jones
Ministry of Advanced Education