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$1.5M helps learners with disabilities access skills training

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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: