The Cowichan Green Community Society is looking a little greener thanks to nearly $55,000 in provincial Job Creation Partnership funding that gave three people work experience in organic horticulture.
Two of them, Katie Gateley and Erin Ward, are now employed full-time by the society. Both are passionate, university-educated women who were having a tough time getting into the local job market before their partnership jobs began. They were unemployed and wanting to get their careers started when they approached their local WorkBC Employment Services Centre. Now they are confident that their futures are more secure.
Over 24 weeks, the workers designed and created a demonstration food forest around The Station, formerly the Phoenix Station Motor Inn, while learning about landscape design, plant selection and safety practices. A free handbook for creating an urban food forest was also produced so people in the community can build their own food forest.
Job Creation Partnerships are a component of the Employment Program of BC’s Community and Employer Partnerships fund for projects that increase employability and share labour market information throughout the province.
To date, more than 340 job seekers have benefited from work experience and approximately 100 projects have been funded.
Minister of Social Development and Social Innovation Don McRae -
“What a great opportunity for the Cowichan area. Not only did three people get some great work experience in horticulture and landscape design, Duncan now has a food forest that will be a great teaching tool for people who want to grow their own food in an urban setting.”
Cowichan Green Community Society executive director Judy Stafford -
“JCP participants have not only learned valuable life and work skills, they have also been participating in projects that have significantly benefited the Cowichan Region and beyond. The JCP team has created a legacy in downtown Duncan through an innovative urban food forest model.”
Job Creation partnership participant Katie Gateley -
“I can't believe how much I have learned in the past six months on this Job Creation Partnership. Not only have I built on my existing skills, but I have also gained many new skills and abilities that are readily applicable to future employment opportunities.”
Job Creation partnership participant Erin Ward -
“This project with the Cowichan Green Community has created the most fulfilling career boost that I've ever experienced. The ecological landscaping expertise I have acquired through research and practical application has positioned me to be a specialist within the landscaping industry.”
- In 2014-15, the ministry has committed to investing $331 million in employment and labour market programs under the Employment Program of BC.
- The Employment Program of BC is funded by the Province of British Columbia as well as the Government of Canada through the Labour Market Development Agreement.
- The Community and Employer Partnerships program is featured in B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint that helps align training and education with in-demand jobs and provides more support to people who are struggling to gain a foothold in the job market or who face unique challenges.
- Funding supports 85 WorkBC Employment Services Centres throughout the province and the four components of the Community and Employer Partnerships fund:
- Job Creation Partnerships
- Labour Market Partnerships
- Project-Based Labour Market Training
- Research and Innovation
Who is eligible?
- Non-profit organizations
- Municipalities, agencies or territorial governments
- Bands/tribal councils
- Public health and educational institutions
For more information on Community and Employer Partnerships: www.workbc.ca/CEP
Find a local WorkBC Employment Services Centre: www.workbccentres.ca
Learn more about the Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation: www.gov.bc.ca/sdsi
For a photo of participants in action: https://flic.kr/p/om6Kua
Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation