Virtual program

Virtual program helps people with disabilities

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The province will invest nearly $ 400,000 in a virtual program to help prepare people with disabilities for careers in food and hospitality.

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The Ontario government announced Tuesday that $ 380,000 will be invested to fund VjobReady, a virtual program designed by Career Services Brockville.

“VjobReady will provide concerned learners and job seekers with a safe environment conducive to skill exploration and development,” said Cynthia Sparring, Managing Director of Career Services Brockville.

Officials said the program will provide 160 people across the province at schools, career fairs and employment centers the opportunity to see what it would be like to work in various food industries and of the hotel industry.

Of the 160, around 50 will then move on to more guided learning programs with virtual VjobReady to develop skills such as taking customer orders and preparing food or managing customers at the point of sale.

“I look forward to seeing the graduates of this innovative program at our local Brockville facilities soon,” said Steve Clark, MPP for Leeds-Grenville-Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes.

“This innovative project will prepare people with disabilities for good jobs in the food and hospitality industry that strengthen their families and make our communities stronger,” Labor Minister Monte McNaughton said in a prepared statement .

Virtual training sessions will be offered in person in Brockville and through partner agencies in Kingston, Ottawa and Niagara. The sessions will take place between the end of September and March 2022.

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“We are building a stronger, more inclusive Ontario through our government’s Advanced Accessibility Framework,” said Raymond Cho, Minister of Seniors and Accessibility. “This program opens doors for people facing barriers to employment and is an important way to empower all who want to participate in our economy. “

The program is funded by the province’s $ 115 million Skills Development Fund.

“The team at Career Services Brockville does an incredible job matching people with unique needs with meaningful work, and this program will help them expand this important mission,” said Clark, who is also Minister of Municipal Affairs and Government. Lodging.

Sparring said work for the program has been going on for a few years. After interacting with a virtual reality system used by the Employment and Education Center, Sparring said Career Services investigated whether it could work for people with disabilities to learn in a safe and stress-free environment.

In partnership with Queen’s University, a feasibility study was carried out to simulate a restaurant environment.

“It showed that it was a very good environment for people, especially with learning disabilities, to receive training,” Sparring said.

However, Sparring added that while the virtual reality environment has shown promising results, the funding has not been immediate.

“But then COVID-19 hit and of course a lot more people saw the value of this technology,” she said.

“We have always worked and prepared for this program because we thought it was really a great tool for people. “

To apply, participants can contact Career Services of Brockville at [email protected]

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