The OMAA Adult Program is a job skills training program. We aim to teach our young adults a skill that can lead to possible paid employment and better still, self employment. The first target skill in our program is a fairly new agricultural technology – Aquaponics. Extracurricular activities such as piano lessons, basic computer skills and Movement Therapy sessions are offered in our two hour long after school program.
Term 1 of the Program will start in September 9, 2015. It is a full day program starts everyday from 9:30 am to 3:30 pm. The theoretical part of the program will be conducted at OpenMind Alliance Academy. The Practicum part of the program will be at our Uxbridge site - The Farm.
Download OMAA Adult Program Brochure
According to the Persons with Disabilities and Employment Report (by Martin Turcotte, 2014) for Statistics Canada, the employment rate for young adults with disabilities (ranged from mild to severe) in the 25-34 age group was between 8 to 14%. It is not clear how many percent of these employments are paid positions and how many are volunteer positions. To most parents it really does not matter. As long as our young people have a job it is worth celebrating.
While volunteering one’s time is noble, being able to make a living is essential. If our young people are to help support themselves financially, learning a skill is definitely a better way to secure an income or a paying job.
However, it is also a known fact that our young people are not always successful students at schools. In other words, a lot of them may not meet the admission requirements of colleges and universities. That means they are not able to attend job skill training programs after high schools - they will not be given the opportunity to learn a skill.
We know that with proper training our young people can become a reliable work force. With 6 successful years of teaching special needs students OMAA feels that we are now in the position to fill this need. We are able to deliver the knowledge and fulfill the educational needs for our young adults. Most of them are excited about the prospect of learning a skill and having productive work. With that in mind, we set out to create our job skills focused Adult programs.
In a nutshell, aquaponics is a closed circuit ecosystem in which plants and vegetable are grown using fish waste as the fertilizer. Aquaponic is an ancient concept but the technique is relatively new. This agricultural method can be traced back to ancient Azteca time. It is now developed and adapted for urban farming and / or year round vegetable production.
Although the Aquaponic Technology is relatively new, it is gathering momentum. You may have come across some of the alternative food production technologies in EXPO 2015; Aquaponics is one of such technologies. It is showcased in the Belgium Pavilion.
Nowadays food safety and sustainable food production are major concerns. Especially, parents of special need children we are very concern about chemicals, fertilizers and pesticides used in growing and processing food. Organic food production is becoming a mainstream farming method, a force to be reckoned with. The OMAA Adult Program will focus on organic food culture and allow our young farmers to participate in and be a part of this new movement of sustainable and safe food production.
While Aquaponics techniques are skills that require serious effort to learn and to teach. Our teaching team is up to the challenge. I am a long time hobbyist and enthusiast of Aquaponics; I am also a certified special education teacher who does task analysis and design procedure break-down for special needs students on a daily basis. All program materials have been designed and developed based on careful task analysis. Together, we will experiment and experience the different techniques and plant species. Starting with small scale operations we are looking to grow into framer market size in the near future. We are aiming at becoming a safe food producer who produces high grade vegetables and fish for the general public.
The ideal candidates for the program should have grade 3 level literacy. It is because some of the program materials cannot be taught by pictures or drawings alone. Since the staff to member ratio is around 1: 4 the program member should not have severe behavioural issues such as aggression and property destruction.
OMAA has a series of preparatory programs to help those who need help in reaching the necessary literacy level. These programs will be customized for each individual to maximize learning. Please contact OMAA for an assessment and further information.
Since we only have a limited number of spaces this year, we will invite the candidates to an assessment interview. Please contact OMAA to arrange for an appointment at (905)918-3852.
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