Up to 322 job seekers are receiving training for jobs in the Central Okanagan, thanks to support from the federal and provincial governments.
The governments have allocated more than $1 million in total to Kelowna Community Resources (KCR) and YMCA of Okanagan to deliver three training programs from fall 2016 to fall 2017, at no cost to eligible participants from Kelowna, West Kelowna, Peachland and Lake Country:
- $275,310 to Kelowna Community Resources (KCR) to deliver the Job Readiness in the 21st Century program to up to 90 participants who are either persons with disabilities, immigrants or older workers.
- $301,890 to KCR to deliver the Essential Skills Training program to up to 100 participants.
- $429,048 to YMCA of Okanagan to deliver YMCA Youth Works program, which provides essential skills and job readiness training to up to 132 participants
All of the programs are currently underway. Today, MLA for Kelowna-Mission Steve Thomson and MLA for Kelowna-Lake Country Norm Letnick, on behalf of Shirley Bond, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Responsible for Labour, visited students who are currently training at KCR to pursue jobs in their communities.
These programs are funded through the Province’s Employment Services and Supports (ESS) program under the Canada-B.C. Job Fund. ESS funds a wide range of training, from job readiness and essential skills to entrepreneurial and trades training for unemployed or employed low-skilled, non-EI eligible individuals, including: youth, women, Aboriginal people, immigrants and those under-represented in the trades. The objective of the ESS program is to prepare British Columbians for entry to, or return to sustainable employment.
In 2016-17, a total of $43.4 million was provided to the Province for all ESS programs. These include the Ministry of Advanced Education’s Aboriginal Community-Based Training Partnerships programs, and other training programs delivered in partnership with the Industry Training Authority.
The training investments announced today support the recently announced Building on our Rural Advantages: B.C.’s Rural Economic Development Strategy. The strategy outlines the Province’s long-term vision to ensure that British Columbians in all regions of the province have the opportunity for well-paying jobs and a high quality of life in their community.
Building on our Rural Advantages delivers on a key priority in the mandate letter for the minister of state for rural economic development.
Donna Barnett, Minister of State for Rural Economic Development –
“I’ve lived in rural communities three-quarters of my life so I understand first-hand the challenges they face. Many men and women in resource communities are forced into career changes that often require a different set of skills. Our focus on rural economic development includes a commitment to re-train British Columbians to give them the skills necessary to thrive in a rapidly changing global environment. We are taking action to address the concerns in rural B.C., including steps to diversify their local economies. By facing these challenges head-on, we are giving women and men in every region of B.C. a chance to prosper in our province’s bright future.”
Steve Thomson, MLA for Kelowna-Mission –
“The importance of these investments is immeasurable because they provide essential job and life skills to some of our most vulnerable citizens so they can share in the Okanagan’s prosperity. Building an educated and skilled workforce is crucial for B.C. to remain an economic leader in Canada and these programs help ensure our growth continues for years to come.”
Norm Letnick, MLA for Kelowna-Lake Country –
“These important programs provide education and training that gives local residents the skills to work toward great careers here at home. We want all citizens of B.C. to be a part of our province’s economic success, and this $1-million investment helps make that possible for more than 300 people in the Central Okanagan.”
Ellen Boelcke, executive director, Kelowna Community Resources –
“We are very thankful for this funding and have seen first-hand the difference it has made in our community. People who have had long periods of unemployment or unstable employment are successfully returning to post-secondary education or gaining meaningful, sustainable employment. As a result of these supports funded by the provincial and federal governments, we have been able to assist over 80% of program participants to find employment or return to school.”
Allyson Graf, community and strategic initiatives manager, YMCA of Okanagan –
“This funding has provided Okanagan youth the opportunity to gain the certifications, skills and confidence needed to be successful in our local workforce. It can be challenging for youth to find and build a career in the Okanagan and YMCA Youth Works is making it possible for them to do so. The investment in our community is changing the lives of many – helping local youth build a bright future.”
- The Canada-B.C. Job Fund supports training programs that provide individuals the skills to enter and succeed in the job market. The funding is being made available through the Canada-British Columbia Job Fund Agreement.
- Through the Canada Job Fund, the Government of Canada provides $500 million annually to the provinces and territories for investments in skills training. Under the Canada-British Columbia Job Fund Agreement, the Province receives a total of $65 million per year – its per-capita share of the available funding.
B.C. Jobs Plan: http://bcjobsplan.gov.bc.ca/
British Columbia’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint: https://www.workbc.ca/skills
B.C. Labour Market Outlook 2025: https://www.workbc.ca/Labour-Market-Information/B-C-s-Economy/Reports.aspx