Thousands of British Columbia parents are building a brighter future for their families, thanks to the Single Parent Employment Initiative (SPEI), a unique government program that was launched one year ago.
Since September 2015, the Single Parent Employment Initiative has served nearly 3,400 single parents. About 400 people are currently in training programs, nearly 500 participants have already found employment and others are working with a case manager to best determine their future career path. Dozens of people are joining the program every week.
The Single Parent Employment Initiative removes barriers that single parents on income assistance can face when returning to the workforce through up to 12 months of funded training for in-demand jobs or work experience placements, child care costs, transportation assistance and employment readiness workshops. Participants are able to remain on income or disability assistance while enrolled in a training program. They will also continue to be supported in the first year of employment with child-care costs and supplemental health coverage, which includes MSP premiums and PharmaCare coverage.
People who have already found employment are working as administrative assistants, social service workers, nursing aides, and in retail, construction trades and home support.
Single parents-in-training programs are pursuing occupations ranging from early childhood educator to teaching assistant, medical secretary, health services assistant and several technical and paraprofessional fields.
SPEI is making a big difference for parents throughout B.C.
Abbotsford single mom Tiffany learned about SPEI at her local WorkBC Employment Services Centre. She’s now taking the health care assistant program at Vancouver Community College, getting excellent grades and hopes to find work in a hospital or long-term care facility.
Amanda Rainey is a single mother of two in Surrey. Amanda wanted to get off income assistance and establish a new career. Thanks to SPEI, she’s now training as a medical administration assistant at the Academy of Learning-and is excelling.
Maple Ridge single father Don is now working full time at an automation firm after SPEI gave him the necessary supports to study electronics at the University of the Fraser Valley, including tuition and child-care funding.
The Single Parent Employment Initiative is a priority within the Province’s B.C. Skills for Jobs Blueprint. The Blueprint was launched two years ago to help British Columbians get the skills they need to be first in line for the almost one million job openings that are projected by 2025 and to re-engineer education programs toward a data-driven system, focusing investments toward training for in-demand jobs.
SPEI participants Tiffany, Amanda, Don, and other single parents involved in the initiative are sharing their stories at: www.gov.bc.ca/SingleParentEmploymentInitiative.
Michelle Stilwell, Minister of Social Development and Social Innovation –
“We knew from the start the Single Parent Employment Initiative was going to be a great program, but I’m so pleased to see that it’s helping even more people than we expected. The supports provided by SPEI are helping thousands of families across B.C. learn new skills, gain work experience and, most importantly,-find employment. We will continue to support SPEI and I encourage single parents on income or disability assistance to find out if this program is right for them.”
Stephanie Cadieux, Minister of Children and Family Development –
“I am delighted that the Ministry of Children and Family Development is a partner in the overwhelming success of the Single Parent Employment Initiative. For single parents on income assistance and wanting to return to the work force, there can be many obstacles. Our ministry supports their success by providing the full cost of child care during their training or work placement, and in their first year of employment.”
Shirley Bond, Minister of Jobs, Tourism, Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour –
“The Single Parent Employment Initiative is one of the programs we added to B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint to help those having difficulty gaining a foothold in the job market and the results after only one year are remarkable. Hundreds of single parents have already found employment and hundreds more are currently training for new careers. This program is making it possible for thousands of British Columbians to build a happy, secure future for themselves and their children.”
Tiffany, Single Parent Employment Initiative participant –
“SPEI has truly given me and my girls a new lease on life. I have so many goals and dreams that have started because I knew I could do it with the help the Single Parent Employment Initiative.”
Amanda, Single Parent Employment Initiative participant –
“This program can change peoples’ lives. It’s now giving me an amazing opportunity to establish a career for myself and my children.”
Don, Single Parent Employment Initiative participant –
“Now I’m able to better provide for my son, Dallas. It's nice to wake up and work a full day and know that I'm doing what I can for me and my son’s future.”
- About 16,000 single parents receiving income or disability assistance are eligible for SPEI.
- The Province is investing $24.5 million over five years for the Single Parent Employment Initiative.
- 91% of SPEI participants are single mothers, while 9% are single fathers.
For more information on SPEI and profiles of clients, visit: www.gov.bc.ca/SingleParentEmploymentInitiative
For more information on B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint visit: https://www.workbc.ca/skills