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Coast Capital donation opens career doors for cognitively challenged youth

Posted on May 22, 2020



Vancouver Community College (VCC) is pleased to announce that Coast Capital Savings has donated $25,000 to support the Gateway to Post-secondary (GPS) program.

GPS was developed in partnership with the Vancouver School Board (VSB) to help students with cognitive disabilities and diverse learning needs successfully bridge their education to post-secondary programs.

Through this program, students split their time between their high schools and VCC’s Downtown campus, participating in classroom activities, fieldwork, and community employment practicums.

“The GPS program has opened the doors to many possible careers for students that they may have not been aware even existed,” says VCC Community and Career Education (CACE) department head Ingrid Defert.  

Many students transition smoothly from the GPS program into VCC’s industry-specific Adult Special Education programs in food service, retail, and hospitality. 

Ingrid looks back proudly at one participant whose experience in VCC's Food Service Careers Program connected him with an Indigenous chef who ended up hiring him for her catering company. "He has grown into a competent and confident young man," Ingrid says. 

Despite the many financial challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, this year, Coast Capital has increased their annual donation by $5,000.  

The GPS program has been an ongoing pilot since 2014, serving 10 students each fiscal year, totalling 70 students thus far.

Learn more about VCC's wide variety of progams and servies for people with disabilities