Community Living BC (CLBC) and the Douglas College Foundation announced a renewed partnership that is providing $20,000 in scholarships to support B.C. students who specialize in helping the adults that CLBC serves find and keep employment.
The scholarships, the first of their kind in Canada, were launched last year with an initial $10,000 to support five students each semester who are enrolled in the Employment Supports Speciality Advanced Certificate (ESSAC) program at Douglas College. Students are each awarded $1,000 to recognize excellence in their studies. The renewal adds $10,000 to the fund and extends the program until spring 2016.
The ESSAC program is the first in Canada dedicated to supporting and increasing inclusive workforce development for people who live with a disability. The program consists of five courses offered part time over two semesters, and is completely online so those living in remote locations can access the program.
Thirty-one students have enrolled in the ESSAC program since it began in January 2014. The first five students received scholarship funds for the 2014 fall semester and another five students from the winter 2015 semester are currently being selected for an award. The purpose of the scholarship is to build capacity in communities across the province so more of the people who are served by CLBC can find and keep employment, the key goal of CLBC’s three-year Community Action Employment Plan.
Application for the scholarship is open only to students enrolled in the college’s employment supports speciality advanced certificate program. The applications are reviewed by faculty on the Douglas College Disability & Community Studies Selection Committee, and students are selected based on their grade point average, as well as the region they reside in to ensure capacity for supported employment is being built throughout BC.
Released in 2013, the CLBC Community Action Employment Plan is a collaborative strategy that promotes inclusive and supportive employment opportunities. Among other things, the plan supports coordination of local resources and development of community and service provider capacity to deliver supported employment services.
The scholarship also supports Accessibility 2024, a 10-year plan and shared commitment between government, businesses and communities to make B.C. the most progressive place in Canada for people with disabilities.
To learn more about the Community Action Employment Plan, click here.
To learn more about the Douglas College employment supports speciality advanced certificate program, click here.
To learn more about Accessibility 2024, visit: www.gov.bc.ca/accessibility
Michelle Stilwell, Minister of Social Development and Social Innovation
“Government is committed to building an accessible and inclusive province. This renewed partnership and scholarship will help ensure students get the education they need to help people with disabilities find meaningful employment.”
Linda Larson, Parliamentary Secretary for Accessibility
“The partnership between Douglas College Foundation and CLBC on this scholarship clearly supports the overall goal of improving opportunities for people with disabilities across BC. I look forward in the future to hearing more about the work of Douglas College and the scholarship winners as they support adults across the province to find and keep work.”
Seonag Macrae, CEO, Community Living BC
“We are pleased to be partnering with Douglas College to reward students who are dedicated to improving employment outcomes for the adults we serve. This is the key goal of our Community Action Employment Plan, and we are excited about the benefits these inclusive employment specialists will bring to our communities.”
Hazel Postma, Associate Vice President, External Relations, Douglas College
“By matching CLBC’s donation we are able to double the number of students in this important program which in turn will result in more people with disabilities gaining entrance to decent employment opportunities.”
Scholarship recipient Sharon Magee – Central-Upper Island Region
“I am happy to have been selected as [a scholarship] recipient and it will be of significant help to enable me to continue my studies. It is exciting to be involved with this online program that gives me the opportunity to advance my training in spite of the fact that I live in a rural community.”