Christmas is a time for people to reminisce about the year that’s past and think about what’s to come in the year ahead.
Thanks to the Single Parent Employment Initiative (SPEI), a unique government employment program launched just over a year ago, hundreds of single parents throughout the province are ending 2016 on a cheery note.
Shannon, a single mother from Duncan, is one of those parents.
Shannon found herself jobless shortly after being diagnosed with a disability and wondered how she was going to start over. It was an emotionally challenging time as her debts were mounting and she had rent to pay. She finally needed to turn to social assistance to help make ends meet.
With a teenage son who looks up to her, Shannon knew how important it was to be going back to school.
After connecting with her local WorkBC Employment Services Centre, SPEI helped Shannon finish Grade 12, take a Medical Terminology course, and enroll in the Medical Device Reprocessing Technician (MDRT) program offered through Vancouver Island University. Continuing with her goals and finishing her schooling is important to both Shannon and her son, and she can’t wait until she graduates in April to see what new doors open for her and her family.
Launched in September 2015, SPEI provides eligible single parents on income or disability assistance with supports to assist them overcome barriers and get back into the workforce. To date, more than 4,000 single parents have become involved in SPEI and more than 730 have already found employment. Of those involved, over 800 are from Vancouver Island.
To read more of Shannon’s story and other single parents involved in the initiative visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/stories/single-parent-wipes-the-slate-clean-with-new-career
Michelle Stilwell, Minister of Social Development and Social Innovation –
“Hundreds of single parents on Vancouver Island have an added bounce in their step this holiday season thanks to the Single Parent Employment Initiative. From Victoria to Port Hardy, single parents like Shannon are able to celebrate this busy time of year knowing they have a strong support system that will help them to provide a better life for themselves, and their children.”
Shannon Murphy, Single Parent Employment Initiative participant –
“I am blown away by this program. The opportunity to have a job and career is mind-boggling. Thanks to the Single Parent Employment Initiative, I am able to say I am working towards something.”
- About 17,000 single parents on income or disability assistance throughout the province are eligible for SPEI.
- SPEI supports include:
- Up to 12 months of funded training for in-demand jobs or paid work experience placement;
- Child-care costs during their training or work placement and in the first year of employment;
- Transit costs to and from school; and,
- Single parents can also remain on income assistance while attending a training program.
- 91% of SPEI participants are single mothers, while 9% are single fathers.
- Examples of occupations where single parents have found employment include nurse aide, community-service worker, home-support worker, and administrative assistant.
- Almost 600 people are in training programs. The top five training areas are nurse aide, social/community-services worker, secretary, early childhood educator and medical secretary.
- More than 3,000 single parents are working with a case manager to best determine their future career path.
- Wage subsidies are being provided to the employers of 106 SPEI participants.
- 563 people have received short-term occupational certification in areas such as Emergency First Aid, SuperHost, Serving it Right, FoodSafe and basic computer training.
- Dozens of eligible single parents are joining the program every week.