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Study To Examine Hurdles Faced By Youths With Disabilities

Posted By HENRY BURY, THE INTELLIGENCER

Posted -Monday October 20, 2008

A comprehensive study is being launched to investigate the employment and educational challenges -- and solutions -- facing Quintearea youth with disabilities.

The East Central Ontario Training Board (ECOTB) is leading the research project that will focus on identifying critical issues, barriers, gaps and solutions relating to employment training and education services for disabled youth.

"There is a range of issues and challenges that local youth with disabilities face in gaining access to the workforce," said Scott Lawson, ECOTB executive director.

"Often, one of the reasons for lower participation of young people with disabilities in the workforce - especially in rural areas -is a lack of access to some services such as transportation or availability of certain support services."

In order for disabled youth to be more fully engaged in the workforce, Lawson said they may require such supports as workplace accommodation and job training.

He said one in every seven Canadians over the age of 15 has reported some level of disability. It's also estimated that the unemployment rate for youth with disabilities in Ontario is two-and-a-half times higher than the working age population.

Recent legislation -Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act -stipulates that businesses and organizations will have to meet certain accessibility standards relating to services, facilities, buildings and employment starting in 2010.

Given these trends, Lawson said the ECOTB has initiated the study to explore the employment challenges and opportunities for local disabled youth and propose solutions to improve the conditions.

The study is being funded by the federal government.

The project will tap into the experiences and perspectives of four main target groups -youth with disabilities (ages 15 to 29), local employers, local youth employment agencies and agencies assisting people with disabilities.

Lawson said the project is now underway with surveys being finalized and distributed to youth, employers and service providers.

There is even an online survey available through its website - www.focusontraining.com- so that all disabled youth can have their say.

The survey is open to any youth with a disability in the 15 to 29 age group who lives in Hastings, Prince Edward, Lennox and Addington and Frontenac counties. and who is currently either employed, going to school or unemployed.

"Ultimately, improved communication and openness in the workplace to accommodating people is required to move the yardsticks forward and improving the employment opportunities for youth with disabilities," Lawson said.

The executive director said employers who currently or previously hired a disabled youth, or service providers that offer support to youth can contact the training board at 613-969-0720 and participate in study.

Article ID# 1254657

Reproduced from http://www.intelligencer.ca/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=1254657

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