More than 1,300 single parents on income and disability assistance are participating in the provincial government’s Single Parent Employment Initiative launched on Sept. 1.
The initiative helps single parents on income and disability assistance get the supports they need to overcome barriers to employment and build a better future for their families.
Participants may receive up to 12 months of funded training for in-demand jobs, or on-the-job training, through a paid work-experience placement. Single parents enrolled in the program could also receive child-care costs during training or job placement and for the first year of employment, as well as transportation costs and exemptions for bursaries, scholarships and grants. Participants are able to remain on income assistance while enrolled in a training program.
Donald and Jodi are just two of the single parents who have already accessed the program.
A bright, articulate young man, Donald has overcome a lot to get to this point in his life. At 22 years old, he found himself raising his son alone on income assistance and looking for a way to get his life back on track. His dreams are simple – a better life for his family, a stable job with a good company, and a nice home – all of the ingredients to make sure his son has what he needs for a good life. With the support provided through the Single Parent Employment Initiative, Donald is on his way to living his dream. He is studying electronics at the University of the Fraser Valley, training that will give him the skills he needs to find a job and build his future.
Single parent, Jodi, is building a future for her family
She is currently pursuing a diploma in horticulture at Kwantlen Polytechnic University (facebook.com) with plans to run her own landscape design business. Through the Single Parent Employment Initiative, she has received a combination of training and child-care supports so she can focus on her studies and develop her career, while still providing for her two young children.
For info on the program, visit: http://ow.ly/W3jMI
Michelle Stilwell, Minister of Social Development and Social Innovation –
“I hope all eligible single parents will take advantage of the Single Parent Employment Initiative. The supports provided help remove barriers that single parents on income assistance might face when looking for work. I know it can be challenging going back to school or moving back into the workforce, but SPEI is great opportunity for single moms and dads to think about their future, and then pursue their employment goals. I wish them all the best of luck in their training or education, and congratulate them on taking an important step to build a strong future for themselves and their children.”
Stephanie Cadieux, Minister of Children and Family Development –
“We know single parents often face barriers to employment. The Single Parent Employment Initiative is an opportunity to give them a step up, and I’m pleased to see that more than 1,300 single parents have already taken the steps toward a brighter future through the program. Moving forward, the program will continue to help even more single parents to be able to build a stronger foundation for themselves and their families.”
Donald, Single Parent Employment Initiative participant –
“The program has given me an amazing amount of help. It gives me a lot more hope for the future. It’s an excellent program because there’s no way I would be able to go back to post-secondary education without it. It definitely takes a lot off my mind. There are a lot of obstacles that come with being a single father, especially a young single father, and being able to get help to overcome some of those boundaries to allow myself to be successful at being a single father gives me hope.”
Jodi, Single Parent Employment Initiative participant –
“If it wasn’t for this program, I don’t know where I would be career-wise right now. The fact they are able to contribute to child care, living expenses, travel expenses and your general income is just amazing. There is nothing more satisfying than knowing that I will be able to build a better life for my kids once I graduate. I want my children to know that if you really dedicate yourself to something, you can go somewhere in life. And I want to encourage other single parents on assistance to join the program, find a career and have hope.”
- The Province will invest $24.5 million over five years for the Single Parent Employment Initiative.
- 1,335 single parents are participating in the Single Parent Employment Initiative as of Dec. 14, 2015.
- More than 100 are already enrolled in training programs or work placement.
- 50 are already in the workplace in the construction, retail, health and community service sectors.
- Over 1,000 participants are currently receiving employment support services or workshops, such as resume building and interview skills, through WorkBC offices. These participants are working with case managers who are helping them develop their plans towards sustainable employment.
- Over 90% of participants are single mothers (1,214).
- More than 480 (36%) participants have young children and are not expected to work, but have chosen to participate in the program.
- 180 participants are currently enrolled in skills training or gaining occupational certificates.
- Participants are pursuing skills training towards the following jobs:
- 17 in management, technical and paraprofessional.
- 19 in administration and administrative support.
- 36 in sales, personal and customer information services.
- 10 in industrial, construction and equipment operation trades, as well as workers and labourers in transport and construction
- Currently, there are 16,000 single-parent families with 26,000 children that are on income and disability assistance in B.C.
- For people just on income assistance, when you include children, single-parent families represent 44% of all recipients.
- On average, 90% of single parents on income and disability assistance are female.
- Children who grow up in an income-assistance family are at greater risk of living in low income when they become adults. Research suggests they may be three or more times more likely to become dependent on income assistance as an adult, compared to children with no or limited exposure to income assistance.
Learn more about Donald: http://ow.ly/W3jPl
Learn more about Jodi: http://ow.ly/W3jMI
Single Parent Employment Initiative: www.gov.bc.ca/singleparentemploymentinitiative
B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint: https://www.workbc.ca/skills
B.C.’s 2024 Labour Market Outlook: http://ow.ly/VYTVW
To find a local WorkBC Employment Services Centre: https://www.workbc.ca/WorkBC-Centres.aspx
Supporting Affordability for B.C. Families: http://www.mcf.gov.bc.ca/supporting_affordability/index.htm