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Provincial funding supports students with disabilities in the classroom and the workplace

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“Our government is working to make sure everyone has an opportunity to benefit from B.C.’s strong and growing economy and part of that means helping provide the training and resources needed to get rewarding jobs” Peace River South MLA Mike Bernier said. “By helping students living with disabilities obtain required training; we are removing barriers to employment.”

“Our government is committed to improving accessibility for all British Columbians with disabilities,” Peace River North MLA Pat Pimm said. “All young people should have the opportunity to attend post-secondary training and this funding will help make that possible.”

The funding is part of nearly $1.3 million being delivered to twenty public post-secondary institutions throughout the province as part of the one-year anniversary of B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint.

“One of our top priorities is aligning with in-demand jobs, and this funding will go towards training for trades instructors so they can enhance their teaching styles in order to help learners with disabilities succeed,” said NLC’s Dean of Trades and Apprenticeships, Rene Tremblay.

NLC’s Dean of Student Services, Lorelee Mathias, anticipates a September 2015 start for the development and implementation of a program for Trades students with disabilities designed to connect them with industry mentors.

“Students with disabilities will benefit from this funding through access to industry mentorship that will provide them with support academically, emotionally and socially. The industry mentors will act as both role models and trusted support networks,” said Mathias.

British Columbians with disabilities will also be able to access assistive technology through the Technology@Work program to help reach their employment goals. The Neil Squire Society will receive $3 million annually over the next three years to deliver the new Technology@Work assistive technology program to support employment opportunities for people with disabilities.

Technology@Work will provide assistive technologies, such as mobility supports, assistive devices such as alternative keyboards and voice input equipment, hearing devices and workplace modifications. The new program will complement existing employment programs, such as the Employment Program of BC. Technology@Work will also provide employers and organizations with information and connect them with assistive technology to help them better support their employees.

The grants also support Accessibility 2024, a 10-year action plan announced in June 2014 that includes goals, actions and long-term measures to make B.C. the most progressive place in Canada for people with disabilities.

The provincial government launched B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint in April 2014 to align funding and programs with in-demand occupations. The Blueprint includes goals to provide better access to technical and trades-related training for learners with disabilities.

B.C. anticipates more than one million job openings by 2022; more than 78 per cent of these positions will require some form of post-secondary education and 44 per cent will need skilled trades and technical workers.