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Province announces virtual reality training for LCDS

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Journal staff

The province is investing nearly $180,000 in an innovative training project to help 200 people care for members of the community with developmental needs, officials announced this week.

Led by Lambton County Developmental Services (LCDS), the project will allow participants to use custom-made virtual reality training modules to help improve their skills or gain the training needed to start their careers.

Virtual reality training is a 3D digital simulation of real-world scenarios for the purpose of learning.

“This project will give participants the training to help clients with developmental needs participate in day-to-day activities and community life, including reading, walking and administering medication,” a news release stated, adding that more than 65,000 people in Ontario live with a developmental disability, such as autism or Down syndrome, which can increase the risk for poverty, chronic illnesses, and a lower life expectancy. “Once training is complete for current LCDS staff and volunteers, modules will be made available to the public and jobseekers at job fairs, conventions, and high school events.”

The Ontario government is also investing $291,500 in a second project, led by the Sarnia-Lambton Economic Partnership, officials said, to help 150 local employers find the skilled international graduates they need to help tackle the labour shortage in Sarnia-Lambton.

The program will connect 250 jobseekers with networking opportunities, bus tours, and job placements, to address the 11,500 jobs going unfilled daily in the Windsor-Sarnia economic region.

“Lambton County Developmental Services is thrilled to receive Skills Development Funds to establish a virtual reality training program to recruit, retain, and retrain employees for the developmental services sector,” said Nick Salaris, Executive Director at Lambton County Developmental Services. “The funds will go a long way in allowing us to live and breathe our mission of ‘empowering people with developmental disabilities while working to our vision of ‘inclusive communities ~ innovative leaders.’

Both projects are funded through the government’s Skills Development Fund, an over $700 million initiative, which supports ground-breaking programs that connect jobseekers with the skills and training they need to find well-paying careers close to home.

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