When Mitzi, a single mother of one, learned about the Single Parent Employment Initiative (SPEI) and the supports that the program offers, it came at the perfect time for her family.
After living abroad for 17 years with her mother in Chile, Mitzi and her nine-year-old daughter returned to British Columbia six years ago. At the time, Mitzi had to rely on social assistance. She was having difficulty finding the contacts and supports she needed to help her break into the B.C. workforce.
“As a single parent, and as someone who had been away from Canada for so long, it was hard to know where to start from. The ministry’s support made a big difference at a time that was very stressful for me,” Mitzi says.
Now, thanks to the help of her local WorkBC Employment Services Centre and the support of the SPEI program, Mitzi has successfully completed an office training program and has been able to learn the skills she needs to find the job she has always wanted.
Taking part in the Wage Subsidy Program through SPEI, Mitzi is working as an office assistant at the Eastside Movement for Business and Economic Renewal Society in Vancouver. She’s loving every minute of it.
“I really like working in an office environment, working with computers and interacting with people. My wage subsidy position gives me all of that,” Mitzi says.
Having a job in one community, while living in another, can be challenging. But with the child-care and transportation supports that the SPEI program offers, Mitzi’s financial worries have been significantly reduced.
“Participating in the SPEI program has changed my life,” Mitzi says. “It’s because of the program that I now have the tools to continue working on my future and to support my daughter.”
Thanks to her job, Mitzi is now confident and happy. She knows first-hand the difference that the program can make in the life of a struggling single parent.
“If you are a single parent, you should take advantage of SPEI and its supports. The program doesn’t just help you financially, it helps you mentally and emotionally as well. It gives you prospects for your future, and the will to fight and accomplish goals.”
The Single Parent Employment Initiative provides eligible single parents on income or disability assistance with supports including up to 12 months of funded training for in-demand jobs or paid work experience placement, transit costs to and from school, and child-care costs during their training or work placement and in the first year of employment. Single parents can also remain on income assistance while attending a training program. Since its launch in September 2015, more than 4,400 single parents have become involved in SPEI. Of that number, 845 have found employment.