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, and their children, will be having a brighter Christmas with some extra cheer this year.
Amanda, a single mother of two who lives in Surrey, is one of those parents.
Determined to create a more secure future for herself and her two children, Amanda became involved in SPEI and started working towards her goal of becoming a medical-administrative assistant. Amanda recently graduated from the Academy of Learning with a 4.0 grade point average and was chosen as valedictorian for her graduating class. Because of her hard work and the help SPEI has provided, Amanda is more confident in herself and her abilities and is eager to put her new skills to work in the field that she loves. Read Amanda's story.
Veronica is another single mom from Surrey who is benefiting from SPEI.
Even before Veronica graduated from the Social Services Worker Foundation program at CDI College she had already secured full-time employment through her practicum placement. She has been off income assistance ever since. Veronica will be the first to tell you that without the support of SPEI she would not be where she is today. The feeling of hopelessness that Veronica once had is long gone. This Christmas, Veronica and her family will not only buy gifts, they will enjoy a turkey dinner with all the trimmings too.
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 1,500 are from the Fraser Region, which includes Surrey and surrounding areas. Read Veronica's story.
To read more of Amanda’s and Veronica’s stories and other single parents involved in the initiative, visit: http://news.gov.bc.ca/stories/single-parent-employment-initiative-success-stories
Michelle Stilwell, Minister of Social Development and Social Innovation –
“The Single Parent Employment Program is about supporting single parents who need a helping hand to get back to work and create a secure future for themselves, and their families. Many participants are from the Fraser region and Lower Mainland – like Amanda and Veronica – and the dedication they have shown towards reaching their employment goals and being an example to their children is commendable.”
Amanda Rainey, Single Parent Employment Initiative participant –
“SPEI truly is a life changing program. By providing the resources that single parents need the most, like the cost of training or education and child care, SPEI really does support single parents to succeed.”
Veronica, Single Parent Employment Initiative participant –
“For the first time, we are having a turkey for Christmas dinner. And gifts. Without that (SPEI) funding, I would not be where I am right now. I am really thankful.”
- 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.