With a fresh new year ahead, single mother Morgan Hegg of Williams Lake can resolve to continue on the new career path she has chosen.
Thanks to the Single Parent Employment Initiative (SPEI), Morgan has started a career in the health-care field and is providing a brighter future for her two children.
After leaving an abusive situation, Morgan, 22, had needed to rely on income assistance to provide for her children. She wanted to return to post-secondary education but was overwhelmed and didn’t know how she could afford school, child care and the cost of living.
Morgan heard about the SPEI program and realized it covered everything that she was worried about: the cost of tuition and books for the health-care assistant program she chose, child-care costs while she was in school, and she was able to stay on income assistance for the duration of the program.
“I literally had no excuse not to go back to school,” Morgan said, noting that she was determined to go back when she found out about the program. She started taking workshops through her local WorkBC Employment Services Centre before starting the program at Thompson Rivers University.
“As hard as school was, it has paid off like no other,” she said.
Morgan is now off income assistance and working full time. She is proud to be able to rent a house with bedrooms for each of her children. It also has a nice backyard.
Her children, three and four years old, are the two biggest reasons that Morgan wanted to go back to school. “I’m hoping to show them that going to school is everything. Going to school is giving me a job that I love to do.”
Not only is Morgan loving her job but she already has plans to further her education with the goal of entering a nursing program. Without SPEI getting her to where she is now, Morgan may have never been able to fulfil her dream of working in the health-care field.
“I was so determined to go back to school, and it was so amazing not to have to worry about the cost. SPEI covered everything. I am so thankful,” Morgan said.
“The new year is traditionally a time to look to the future and set goals, and it’s great to see single parents like Morgan accessing the Single Parent Employment Initiative to help them achieve those goals," said Michelle Stilwell, Minister of Social Development and Social Innovation. “I hope that SPEI will help even more single parent families in BC to achieve a brighter future in 2017.”
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 4,100 single parents have become involved in SPEI and more than 740 have already found employment. Of those involved, over 850 are from the interior region of British Columbia, which includes the Thompson Cariboo Shuswap area.
Read more stories of single parents getting support to build a better future for their family.
Learn more about the Single Parent Employment Initiative.
- 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 4,000 single parents are working with a case manager to best determine their future career path.
- Wage subsidies are being provided to the employers of 108 SPEI participants.
- 564 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.