"It's given me a purpose."
That’s how Melody describes the Single Parent Employment Initiative, a unique government program aimed at helping single parents on income or disability assistance find training, work experience and employment.
When a relationship breakdown forced Melody and her young son to move from Edmonton to B.C. in 2014, she needed to rely on government assistance in order to support her family. But that wasn’t the life Melody wanted. She had dreams of building a career, one that she could take pride in and that would give her fulfillment, and help her build a better life for her son Quetzal. Melody wanted to work with young children who have special needs, but for that, she needed to return to school.
“But the obstacles to going back to school were so high—having to come up with money for school and childcare.”
To find the help she needed, Melody turned to the WorkBC Employment Services Centre and its partner the Boys and Girls Club of South Coast B.C. in Delta. That’s where she found out about the Single Parent Employment Initiative (SPEI), which provides eligible single parents up to 12 months of funded training or paid work experience, transit costs, continued income or disability assistance while in training, child care costs during training and for the first year of employment, and exemptions for bursaries, grants and scholarships.
With the support of SPEI, Melody is now attending MTI Community College in Burnaby, where she is enrolled in the Special Education Teaching Assistant Diploma program.
“I have a strong desire to help those who are most vulnerable, and I really enjoy the spirit of children and working with them,” she says. "WorkBC and the Single Parent Employment Initiative have both provided excellent support. They’ve given me the opportunity to do something I really care about, instead of relying on menial jobs. It’s given me purpose, and the ability to build the career I want.”
Melody wants to spread the word and raise awareness about the Single Parent Employment Initiative, so that other single moms and dads can follow her example.
Her message to other parents?
“This program is so worth it—it gives you a chance to really make a solid future for yourself and your children. I am very thankful for the opportunity!”
Melody is one of many single moms and dads on assistance who are taking part in the Single Parent Employment Initiative, with dozens more joining the program every week.
Read more stories of single parents getting support to build a better future for their family.
Learn more about the Single Parent Employment Initiative.