‘Tis the season for celebration! And the Single Parent Employment Initative (SPEI), a unique government employment program launched just over a year ago, is helping to make this Christmas brighter for hundreds of single parents throughout the province.
Mark, a single dad from Vernon, is one of those parents.
When Mark found out that he was being granted sole custody of his two young daughters, he had just been laid off and was looking for a new job. While he was on the hunt for employment, staff at the local WorkBC Employment Services Centre reached out and found an opportunity that worked for his family’s situation. They found a local company that agreed to take him on through a wage subsidy and provide on-the-job training as an insulator.
After his wage subsidy ended this past September, his employer – Thermotech Insulation – hired Mark to stay on full-time, which also included health and dental benefits for him and his girls. Now, thanks to SPEI, WorkBC, and his new employer, Mark is excelling as a certified insulator and is able to get back on track and provide the financial support that he and his children need.
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 850 are from the Interior Region, which includes the Okanagan area.
To read more of Mark’s story and other single parents involved in the initiative, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/stories/single-dad-of-two-lands-new-career-with-benefits
Michelle Stilwell, Minister of Social Development and Social Innovation –
“Having a support system that allows single parents to become financially independent is what SPEI is all about. The program is already having a positive impact in the lives of hundreds of Okanagan families – including Mark’s – and as we move into 2017 I anticipate SPEI to make an even bigger impact locally as word of the program reaches more eligible single parents in more communities.”
Mark Cantafio, Single Parent Employment Initiative participant –
“I know that if I keep working hard I will be able to help create bright futures for all of my kids. This Christmas is the first time I think I’ll actually be able to save money, and that’s big for me. The first thing on my list is a more reliable car for me and my kids.”
- 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.