Shannon is looking forward to her new career as a medical device reprocessing technician (MDRT), an in-demand career in the medical field that involves the decontamination, sterilization, storage and distribution of equipment in hospitals and other health-care facilities.
Shannon has worked hard her whole life, but ended up jobless shortly after being diagnosed with a disability. It was an emotionally challenging time as her debts were mounting and she had rent to pay. She finally needed to turn to social assistance to help make ends meet.
It was at that point that she asked herself, “How do I start over?”
Shannon connected with her local WorkBC Employment Services Centre. WorkBC staff told her about the Single Parent Employment Initiative (SPEI), which provides up to 12 months of paid tuition for eligible single parents receiving income or disability assistance, child-care costs and transit costs to and from school.
“SPEI offered me an option,” Shannon said.
The opportunity to go back to school has changed her life. “There’s no way that I would be able to save up for this education.”
After researching career options, including what jobs are currently in-demand and what her future prospects would be, Shannon decided on the MDRT program offered through Vancouver Island University. In order to qualify, she needed to finish Grade 12 and take a medical terminology course, for which SPEI also provided funding.
“I never graduated high school,” Shannon said. But with a teenage son who looks up to her, she knew how important it was to go back and finish what she started. “Seeing me continue on matters to him. I’m going to continue with my goals and finish my schooling.”
Not only does a new career mean that she will be better able to support her son, Shannon knows that it is motivating him to do more with his own life.
Shannon is confident that she will be hired shortly after she graduates in April – and can still count on the employment centre’s support in her job search. Shannon’s workers have been with her every step of the way, which has been “awesome".
“I am blown away by this program,” Shannon said. “The opportunity to have a job and career is mind-boggling. Thanks to the Single Parent Employment Initiative, I am able to say I am working towards something.”
The Single Parent Employment Initiative supports include up to 12 months of funded training for in-demand jobs or paid work experience placement. Single parents can remain on income assistance while attending a training program. Since its launch in September 2015, more than 4,000 single parents have become involved in SPEI and more than 730 have already found employment.
Read more stories of single parents getting support to build a better future for their family.
Learn more about the Single Parent Employment Initiative.