Photo Courtesy of Career Services
Ontario Helping People with Disabilities Find Jobs – Virtual reality program will help people explore, train and get working in the hospitality industry
Brockville — The Ontario government is investing over $380,000 in a free, virtual program led by Career Services Brockville to prepare up to 160 people with disabilities for careers in food and hospitality. Through this program, participants will develop both sector-specific and transferable skills to safely prepare them for work.
Details were provided today by Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development, who was joined by Raymond Cho, Minister of Seniors and Accessibility, and Steve Clark, MPP for Leeds-Grenville-Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes.
“Our pandemic recovery must include giving people a hand up and spreading opportunity more widely and fairly,” said Minister McNaughton. “This innovative project will prepare people with disabilities for good jobs in the food and hospitality sector that strengthen their families and make our communities stronger.”
The program will provide 160 people at local schools, job fairs and employment centres an opportunity to see what it would be like to work in various positions in the food and hospitality sector. Following this introduction, those who demonstrate they are likely to succeed will then move forward to five to 20 hours of guided learning, where they will use the virtual reality tool, VjobReady, to develop skills such as taking customer orders, food preparation or dealing with clients at point of sale.
“We are building a stronger and more inclusive Ontario through our government’s Advancing Accessibility framework,” said Raymond Cho, Minister for Seniors and Accessibility. “This program opens doors for people facing barriers to employment and is an important way we are enabling everyone who wants to participate in our economy.”
The virtual reality training sessions will be provided in person through partner agencies in Kingston, Ottawa, Niagara and Brockville, with participants doing their sessions between September 27, 2021, and March 15, 2022. All participants will be supported by Career Services Brockville to find further training and jobs. Some will also receive paid job placements with local employers, with wage subsidies for up to 100 hours.
“VjobReady will provide apprehensive learners and job seekers a safe, supportive environment for exploration and skill development,” said Cynthia Sparring, Executive Director of Career Services Brockville. “Job seekers will additionally gain the experience and confidence necessary to enter the job market. Employers who are struggling with essential-worker recruitment will benefit from access to an under-represented labour pool who are pre-trained and have a desire to work in the sector.”
“The team at Career Services Brockville does incredible work pairing individuals with unique needs with meaningful work, and this program will help them expand on this important mission,” said Steve Clark, MPP for Leeds-Grenville-Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes. “I look forward to seeing the graduates of this innovative program at our local establishments across Brockville soon.”
This initiative is part of Ontario’s $115-million Skills Development Fund, designed to support fresh ideas for training and skills development that will help our economy prosper.
- To apply, participants can contact Career Services Brockville or their local school board, Ontario Disabilities Service Program (ODSP) or local employment service provider.
- Ontario’s accommodation and food services industry accounted $9.8 billion (or 1%) of Ontario’s real gross domestic product (GDP) in 2020.
- Ontario’s Skills Development Fund is supported through labour market transfer agreements between the Government of Canada and Government of Ontario.