Boundary-Kootenay Region, BC – Job seekers in Central/West Kootenay/Boundary will get extra support in their search for sustainable employment as Kootenay Career Development Society (KCDS) prepares to be the primary contractor for the new and improved WorkBC Employment Services program, funded by the Province of British Columbia, Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction. They will be responsible for delivering the program in a region that spans the Boundary, West and Central Kootenay regions. But they won’t do it alone; their winning bid included working closely with a variety of experienced community organizations that have been providing employment and self-employment services for many years.
“In our bid to manage the primary contract, it was critical to us that we adopt a highly cooperative model and work with existing providers wherever possible. Communities in our region have a lot in common and succeed in supporting clients because of their deep knowledge of the communities they serve. Our approach was to take advantage of both our common bonds and our community wisdom,” explained Jocelyn Carver.
KCDS’ community partners include Arrow Lakes Community Service (Nakusp service area), Kootenay Employment Services Society (Creston service area), and Community Futures Boundary (Grand Forks service area), specialized self-employment services delivered by Community Futures Central Kootenay and Community Futures of Greater Trail and specialized employment counselling provided in Trail by Career Development Services.
“Our clients will benefit from this continuity of service, our organizations will benefit from the expanded community of practice and our whole region will benefit from the continued provision of this critical program,” says Carver.
KCDS will provide the Province’s WorkBC Employment Services program in the tri-city area, with the continued operation of their WorkBC Centres in Nelson and Castlegar and a new WorkBC Centre located in downtown Trail, right across from the Riverfront Centre on Bay Avenue. “Providing services in Trail is a new dimension of our organisation and we can’t wait to work with our local partners and new staff to support this powerhouse community.”
The new WorkBC Employment Services program will enhance programs and services by increasing accessibility by extending centre hours; removing EI eligibility barriers; helping clients find better jobs if their hours are unstable or if the work is not aligned with their skills; assisting clients to maintain their employment through job coaching; adding $9 million in additional supports for skills and trades training across the province; offering clients with disabilities adaptive technology; and ensuring delivery of services in rural and remote communities.
In addition to the changes, two WorkBC programs will now be offered provincially, providing consistent, reliable services for people no matter where they live:
- The Neil Squire Society will deliver assistive technology services through a resource centre, in partnership with WorkBC Centres and online. The program offers adaptive technology to people with disabilities to open up employment opportunities and help them thrive in the workplace.
- Douglas College will deliver apprentice services provincially. Services include processing financial support applications and help for apprentices to collect employment insurance benefits while in school.
“KCDS and our regional employment service providers have supported 34% of the population to find and sustain jobs since 2012,” says Carver. “We are all excited to build on this success in delivering the new WorkBC program starting in April.”