Currently, there are no AODA education standards. However, two AODA standards development committees have drafted recommendations of guidelines that AODA education standards should include. One committee has recommended guidelines for the kindergarten to grade twelve (K-12) education system. In contrast, the other committee has recommended guidelines for the university and college education system. In this article, we outline the Postsecondary Committee’s recommended accessibility training for college and university career counsellors.
The committee’s mandate from the Ontario government requires recommendations focused on publicly-funded colleges and universities. However, students and educators with disabilities also face barriers in other education settings, including:
- Privately-funded colleges and universities
- Transitional job training programs
Therefore, all these settings should comply with the forthcoming postsecondary education standards.
Accessibility Training for College and University Career counsellors
In addition to accessibility training recommended for all college and university employees, the Committee recommends specific training for career counsellors, sometimes known as career advisors. These counsellors, as well as co-op officers, should be prepared to advise students with any disability about their career options. As a result, counsellors should receive training about how students’ disabilities may impact their employment or career transitions. For example, career counsellors should be prepared to work with:
- First-year students participating in school transition programs for students with disabilities
- Students enrolled in alternative transition programs and pathways
- Facilitators or navigators supporting transitioning postsecondary students
Likewise, career counsellors should be able to support students with disabilities transitioning into the workforce, including through experiential learning programs or other work-integrated learning. To do so, counsellors should know about:
Finally, this training must be anti-oppressive and intersectional. For example, training should alert career counsellors that many people with disabilities also have other intersecting identities protected from discrimination under the Ontario Human Rights Code.
Career counsellors must renew this training every three (3) years.