This project’s overarching mission was to understand, identify, recognize and remove barriers to participation in order to improve access to Work Integrated Learning (WIL), primarily Co-op, among Students with Disabilities at Okanagan College (OC).  

Throughout the project, quantitative research, qualitative conversation and appreciative inquiry were implemented to better understand the aspects that challenge and inhibit equitable access in WIL programming and participation.  By establishing and recognizing the various challenges students with disabilities disability or health concerns may encounter in WIL and Co-op, this project sought to improve awareness, access, and opportunity for students who may remove themselves from Co-op and WIL participation while also providing new and reinforced supports for students already involved in programming.

With an overarching lens of Universal Design to accessibility, Co-op programming was evaluated. From there, revisions to processes and procedures and additional layers of support were created to preserve lasting and far reaching effects to the way students are engaged with, communicated to, and guided throughout their WIL experiences.

Real-time efforts to support existing students in a collaborative circle of community stakeholder support was undertaken.  Within the regional community Okanagan College serves, community-based organizations were consulted and ties were strengthened to assemble additional service and support networks for students and alumni. Employers were consulted to exchange viewpoints and work was completed to promote the benefits of diversity and inclusion within student talent acquisition.

Learning Outcomes:
1. Review the main results from OC student surveys
2. The takeaways that were realized from the student surveys
3. Increasing access through virtual student centric events

License and Distribution: ACE-WIL Copyright