Greetings and I am Scott Savoy; managing editor at
Today I am delighted to share our president’s weekly editorial with you and
Donna J. Jodhan takes time to raise a very important issue and concern.
This being whether or not those crash course programs being offered by
community colleges are accessible or not.
A very interesting topic and I now urge you to read on.
Enjoy this March weekend.
How accessible are those crash course programs?
By Donna J. Jodhan
These days they are being called boot camps and in reality they probably are
based on the requirements. You see, the mode of education has now changed
to include many colleges and schools offering crash courses to post high
These courses require students to pay a lot of money in return for diplomas
and certificates and the students are being required to study for very long
hours daily in order to complete their programs. Additionally, these
institutions are promising high paying jobs to successful applicants upon
completion of these diploma programs.
I’ll make it very clear that I am not hear to criticize this concept in any
way shape or form but I am wondering out loud if the creators of this
concept have included accommodations for students with disabilities?
Maybe someone out there could answer this for me or if any of these colleges
or schools see my editorial they are welcomed to contact me to discuss
further. It would thrill me so much if their responses were in the positive
but I have a somewhat sneaking suspicion that maybe and just maybe they
probably have not based on the fact that their end product is to turn out
students in as a quick turn around time as possible to go after those
promised jobs and may not be geared to an inclusive environment.
Now, if I am wrong then I would be more than happy to admit it but if I am
correct then we may have a huge problem on our hands here; this being yet
another barrier to education for students with disabilities.
Several years ago my attention was drawn to an ad on TV being sponsored by
the CSSD, the Canadian Society for Social Development. In this ad, the CSSD
announced that they were seeking disabled students for enrolment in a course
sponsored by them called Internet Business Development for Entrepreneurs
(IBDE) Web Design Training.
Now, I am going to reproduce for you an extract from an editorial that I
wrote in September of 2008 and hopefully at the end of it all you’ll see why
I am again raising similar concerns.
Extract begins here:
I was quite interested in this ad and as a visually impaired systems
engineer with an extensive background in programming, I wanted to know more
so I visited the www.cssd-web.org website and followed the trail to the
www.ibde.ca website to learn more. At the www.ibde.ca website I learned
that the program in question was indeed opened to disabled entrepreneurs of
Canada but curiosity got the better of me and I decided to contact them to
find out if they accepted blind and visually impaired applicants. Lo and
behold! I was in for the surprise of my life!
Before taking any further action I checked and rechecked the CSSD’s mission
statement which is as follows:
To ensure equal opportunities for all Canadians, the CSSD, using internet
based technologies, will provide entrepreneurial training and will enhance
employability for persons experiencing barriers to employment.
I wrote to Mary Alton, the student coordinator and she confirmed the
(Extract from her note to me)
Thank you for your inquiry.
CSSD offers the IBDE Web Design Program, a 6 month online program that
teaches individuals the skills necessary to build web sites. Our next
intake for the program is November 1, 2008-May 1, 2009. This program is
designed for individuals who want to start their own small business
designing web sites or those wishing to build their own website to sell
products or services via the internet.
Go to our website at www.ibde.ca/about for details about our program.
We determine suitability for the program on an individual basis during a
one-on-one telephone interview. We do accept students that are visually
impaired however it can be no greater than a 30% vision loss.
(End of extract)
Imagine my surprise when I read these very blunt and cutting words. Here in
Canada? Was I really reading this correctly? Was someone really daring to
tell me that despite their mission statement, I was being deliberately
excluded because I had vision loss of more than 30%? I was determined to
get more out of this lady and decided to follow up with a phone call and
true to form she echoed the sentiments of her note and added a few
MS Alton informed me that their instructors had determined that it was not
feasible for access technology such as Jaws to work with their software.
She added that it was too costly to change the structure of the course in
order to accommodate a person with greater than 30% loss of vision. She
affirmed that the program had no plans to change this policy in the near
future and when I asked her if her instructors had consulted anyone with
accessibility expertise, the answer was a firm no.
This phone call greatly disturbed me for the following reasons.
MS Alton was very blunt and definite with her remarks. She seemed
completely oblivious to the fact that her statements were discriminatory and
it is not that she did not care or that she was heartless! No, quite the
opposite. She just did not believe that her message was in any way
offensive or out of line. This lady was extremely friendly in her manner,
very courteous, and this scared me because I was hearing from someone that
what the CSSD was doing was completely acceptable despite the fact that it
was outright discriminatory!
When I pointed out to her that under the charter of rights, all Canadians
had to be accommodated equally, she simply
swept my statement aside without seeming to understand why I was so
surprised. When I told her that if the Federal
government was funding them, it meant that they had to accommodate all
Canadians with disabilities, she simply ignored me.
When I told her that whenever the Federal government got involved in the
funding of any project, they had an obligation to make it accessible to all
Canadians, her reaction was that in this case they did not.
When I suggested that they should change their mission statement to say that
their course was opened to Canadians with disabilities except those with
greater than 30% vision loss, she simply dismissed my suggestion like
someone swatting a fly.
Here is a list of the funders of this course:
Human Resources Development Canada
• Government of Canada Logo
• Vancouver Foundation Logo
• Selkirk College Logo
• CFDA Logo
Here is a list of the partners to this course:
• CCRW Logo
• Neil Squire Logo
• eBC Logo
• ReBOOT Canada
This whole affair has the smattering of once again, blind and visually
impaired Canadians are being deliberately ignored and if we allow this kind
of thing to continue then we’ll have no one else to blame but ourselves when
we are left behind. It amazes me that such impressive lists of funders and
partners are not aware that blind and visually impaired Canadians are being
treated like this or is it that they don’t really care either? Some thing
is terribly wrong with this picture and we need to do something about it
My two cents worth for today.
I’m Donna J. Jodhan wishing you a terrific weekend.
To reach me, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and I would
be delighted to send you an electronic copy of our latest newsletter. Or
you can view all of our newsletters at
Here is a complete list of where you can view Donna’s blogs and editorials.
Donna Jodhan! Advocating accessibility for all
Weekly features on how to increase your success with your business ventures
Weekly articles and editorials on issues about accessibility
Learn more about Author Donna Jodhan and her campaign against bullying at
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And now her weekly podcast at www.takeanother5.com.
From recipes to apps, and from 5 minutes mysteries to tips for entrepreneurs
and alerts on the latest scams
Available for download from iTunes and Google music play.
You can follow me on twitter @accessibleworld
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