A new employment project in Chilliwack will prepare up to 24 unemployed residents of the Fraser Valley for careers in manufacturing and support an innovative royalty remuneration system for Aboriginal artists.
The Province is providing over $600,000 to Stó:lō Nation to deliver the 52-week program. Participants will learn skills and safety procedures on high-tech equipment to produce fine copy replicas of artwork by local Aboriginal artists on items such as clothing, glassware, wood and leather materials. Participants will also receive follow-up support, preparing them with the tools they need to gain employment in manufacturing, an industry in need of skilled labour.
Participants will also gain work experience with Stó:lō Nation partners, Monague Native Crafts and White Feather Tissue and Towel. At Stó:lō Nation’s social enterprise Nations Creations, they will manufacture and ship the replica artwork. Stó:lō Nation established the social enterprise after recognizing that local Aboriginal artists need a different way of doing business. Typically artists will sell their designs to manufacturers who produce and import replicas from overseas and pay a single fee to the artist up front for their design. Stó:lō Nation wants to help change the compensation structure by offering royalty payments to artists, benefitting them and their families with sustainable revenue over time. Every time a replica of an artist’s work is sold by Nations Creations, they will earn a portion of that revenue. For this project, Nations Creations will source all of its artwork from Aboriginal artists, from the Lower Mainland and beyond.
Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation funding is provided through the Project-Based Labour Market Training stream of the Community and Employer Partnerships (CEP) program, which funds projects that increase employability levels and share labour market information.
The ministry recently added a social innovation component to CEP, which expands the scope of the program to support innovative projects that address social challenges beyond unemployment. Nations Creations by Stó:lō Nation is the first social enterprise to participate under the new focus of the program.
Community and Employer Partnerships are featured in B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint and provide support to people who are struggling to gain a foothold in the job market. They also help build stronger partnerships with industry and labour to connect British Columbians with classroom instruction and on-the-job training, while making it easier for employers to hire the skilled workers they need – when and where they need them.
To date, more than 1,400 job seekers have benefited from work experience and nearly 260 projects have been funded throughout the province.
Michelle Stilwell, Minister of Social Development and Social Innovation –
“I’m very happy to see this important project taking off. Not only will this Community and Employer Partnership provide up to 24 people with the skills and resources needed for employment, their work will also serve a social purpose by helping Aboriginal artists and their families continue to financially benefit from their work.”
Darren Stollings, programs manager, Stó:lō Nation –
“Stó:lō Nation, through our Nations Creations program, is excited about changing the landscape for Aboriginal artists. A system where artists receive compensation in the form of a royalty for their artwork is long overdue.”
Debbie, project participant –
“Nations Creations has opened a whole new world up for me creatively as well as giving me a new respect for Aboriginal artists.”
Nichol, project participant –
“Nations Creations has given me a new appreciation and respect for art and the artists that create it. I now love getting up to get ready for my day and going to learn something new.”
- Social innovation is about finding new ways to address challenging and complex social problems. Social enterprises – a form of social innovation – are for-profit or non-profit organizations that use business strategies to maximize their social or environmental impact and re-invest profits back into their communities.
- In 2014 the government provided $184,000 to fund a University of British Columbia study on B.C.’s social-venture sector. This study of social enterprises, released in 2015, found the sector has grown by 36% over the last five years, with businesses seeing the highest rate of growth at 89%. The sector generates over $500 million annually and employs more than 12,700 people.
- Local WorkBC Employment Services centres play a leading role in connecting eligible job seekers to Job Creation Partnerships and Project-Based Labour Market Training opportunities in their communities. Once a connection between the client and a suitable project has been made, the WorkBC centre continues to provide financial support and services to ensure the client’s success.
- For 2016-17, the ministry has committed to investing $331 million in employment and labour market programs under the Employment Program of British Columbia.
- The Employment Program of BC (EPBC) is funded by the Province of British Columbia and the Government of Canada through the Labour Market Development Agreement.
- Since program launched in 2012, until December 2016 EPBC has served more than 330,000 people. Out of those, more than 260,000 people (78%) have received one-on-one personal supports with a case manager, with more than 104,000 finding employment as a result.
- In the 2016-17 fiscal year, as of December 2016, 54.9% of people had found employment, and 45.4% of people have found employment through the program to date.
- EPBC funding supports 84 WorkBC Employment Services Centres throughout the province and the five components of the Community and Employer Partnerships fund:
- Job Creation Partnerships
- Labour Market Partnerships
- Project-Based Labour Market Training
- Research and Innovation
- Social Innovation
Who is eligible for Community and Employer Partnerships funding?
- Non-profit organizations
- Crown corporations
- Municipalities, agencies or territorial governments
- First Nation bands/tribal councils
- Public health and educational institutions
Learn more about the Stó:lō Nation: www.stolonation.bc.ca
For more information on Community and Employer Partnerships: www.workbc.ca/CEP
Find a local WorkBC Employment Services Centre: www.workbccentres.ca
Learn more about the Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation: www.gov.bc.ca/sdsi
For more information on B.C.'s Skills for Jobs Blueprint: www.workbc.ca/skills
To find out more about the BC Jobs Plan: www.engage.gov.bc.ca/bcjobsplan/