Government is investing more than $3 million in five research projects to find new and innovative ways to help unemployed British Columbians find a meaningful job.
The mentors will work with 210 unemployed or under-employed people to help them realize their potential, make connections for them in their field, as well as to develop a best practices mentorship model to be used provincewide. Of the 210 people in the program, 140 will receive one-on-one mentoring while the other 70 people will be mentored in a group setting. Success rates between the two groups will then be compared.
The ConnecTra Society will receive $892,000 over three years to research whether people with physical disabilities will benefit from being paired with volunteer mentors who can help guide them through steps to getting a job, or being ready for a job.
The first group of 40 participants starts in the spring for an eight-month mentorship. The volunteer mentors will connect participants with their local WorkBC Employment Services Centre, as well as work on participants’ life and employment goals. About 150 volunteer mentors and 200 people with physical disabilities will be recruited to participate. This project will also develop an orientation program that can be used to train volunteer mentors around British Columbia.
Another $184,000 will go to MOSAIC, a non-profit that helps immigrants and refugees, for an 18-month project to help well-educated immigrants better connect with work that suits their education and work experience. MOSAIC is pairing 40 immigrants who have been in Canada for less than three years with six local employers and giving them real-world business problems to solve to see if this approach has success in getting them connected to the workforce. The immigrants will work to solve business problems through “design thinking”, which is based on having a goal, exploring all options and picking the best solution to solve the problem.
The Vancouver-based BC Centre for Employment Excellence (CfEE) is investigating whether “motivational interviewing” can help people on income assistance get work, keep their job and reduce the number of people returning to assistance. Motivational interviewing is a way of communicating that can help people make desired changes in their lives. Interviews will focus on the prerequisites for career development and supports to enhance employability skills, including self-esteem and personal motivation.
This project is receiving nearly $335,000 in Community and Employer Partnership funding. In this research and innovation project, more than 250 people on income assistance referred to WorkBC employment centres will work with case managers trained in the new approach. Another 250 people will be part of a comparison group. By comparing experiences of the two groups, researchers hope to learn the effectiveness of integrating motivational interviewing in employment services.
The CfEE is also receiving an additional $1 million, which will fund the centre for two more years, until July 2017. The CfEE is the first of its kind as a “what works” innovation hub for the employment services sector in Canada. Operating since 2012, the CfEE acts as a coordination point for research on employment in British Columbia. It connects the employment sector with the best and emerging information about employment and training programs, practices, resources and tools.
The centre has a particular focus on job seekers who may require specialized services, such as people with disabilities, immigrants, Aboriginal people and youth. The centre's online resources, along with its popular webinar series are loaded with information and ideas on which practitioners, employers and policy-makers can draw upon to improve employment outcomes for job seekers in the province.
Research and Innovation is part of the Employment Program of BC’s Community and Employer Partnerships, which fund projects that increase employability and share labour market information. The objective of Research and Innovation is to use progressive research and leading edge innovation to discover better ways of helping unemployed British Columbians join the workforce as quickly as possible. R&I has been developed to fund projects that examine untried and untested solutions to specific labour market issues.
Michelle Stilwell, Minister of Social Development and Social Innovation ─
“Research and Innovation is a fantastic way to test new ways of getting unemployed British Columbians back to work as soon as possible. These projects will provide benefits throughout B.C. as the project holders work with people with disabilities, immigrants, well-educated people and people receiving income assistance who are trying to find their fit in B.C.’s growing economy.”
Linda Larson, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Social Development and Social Innovation for Accessibility, MLA for Boundary-Similkameen ─
“These Research and Innovation projects cover a wide range of challenges that people who are looking for work sometimes face. I’m really looking forward to the results of these cutting edge projects that will dig deeply into researching innovative ways to see what works in connecting unemployed people to a good job.”
Shannon Newman-Bennett, YWCA Metro Vancouver director of Family Services ─
“We are grateful to the ministry for the generous funding of $510,975 over three years to deliver NextStep Mentorship, a specialized mentorship employment program that will connect jobseekers to the labour market. The generous funding is allowing us to conduct a research project and develop a best practice model that employment service providers across the province can adopt to support this target group in their communities. We are pleased with the positive response from our first year program participants and look forward to sharing the impacts of the NextStep program model in the years ahead.”
Duane Geddes, executive director, ConnecTra Society ─
”My hope is that this funding will lead to an understanding that communities hold a tremendous untapped resource in people with disabilities. This Research and Innovation project can help a marginalized population be more fully participating members of society.”
Joan Andersen, director of Employment and Language Services, MOSAIC ─
“We wanted to test a new approach to giving internationally-trained professionals (ITPs) a better start in the B.C. labour market, one that is better aligned with their pre-arrival education, skills and experience. This program gives ITPs a new skill — design thinking. It exposes them to working in teams, which is new to many. It connects them to employers and gives them experience working on a real-world problem in Canada. All those elements allow ITPs to demonstrate the talent and experience they've brought to Canada.”
Debbie Samsom, president, Back in Motion (Motivational Interviewing project) ─
“Back in Motion is very pleased to be participating in this research project. As a psychologist, I have seen the benefits of Motivational Interviewing in other settings, and I look forward to helping examine its effectiveness within the employment sector.”
Susanna Gurr, managing director, BC Centre for Employment Excellence ─
“We are delighted that the Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation recognizes the Centre’s contributions and has committed to supporting our work for another two years. The renewed funding allows the Centre to continue to partner with community agencies and employers to develop and implement research and innovation projects to learn what does and does not work as we actively promote evidence into practice.”
- B.C. has reached a tipping point with fewer young people entering the workforce than older workers leaving it. That is why, through the B.C. Skills for Jobs Blueprint, government is re-engineering education and training programs towards a data-driven system ensuring that investment decisions align with the needs of B.C.’s rapidly changing labour market so that more British Columbians have the skills they need to be first in line for in-demand jobs.
- In 2015-16, 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.
- Community and Employer Partnerships, a program featured in B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint, helps align training and education with in-demand jobs and provides support to people who are struggling to gain a foothold in the job market or who face unique challenges.
- Funding supports 84 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
For information on Community and Employer Partnerships: www.workbc.ca/CEP
To find a local WorkBC Employment Services Centre: www.workbccentres.ca
To learn more about the YWCA: http://ywcavan.org/
To learn more about ConnecTra Society: http://www.connectra.org/
To learn more about MOSAIC: http://www.mosaicbc.com/
To learn more about the Centre for Employment Excellence: www.cfeebc.org
For more information on Accessibility 2024: http://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/governments/about-the-bc-government/accessibility/accessibility-2024
Grant KerrMinistry of Social Development
and Social Innovation