KELOWNA— Job seekers in Kelowna and area are among the more than 5,500 British Columbians receiving the training they need for employment in their communities, thanks to an investment of nearly $36 million from the federal and provincial governments under the Canada-British Columbia Job Fund. Kelowna’s share of the funding totals more than $2.27 million.

Contracts with 63 service providers to deliver targeted skills training programs across B.C. have been finalized. The programs offered in Kelowna and area include:

Contracts with 63 service providers to deliver targeted skills training programs across B.C. have been finalized. The programs offered in Kelowna and area include:

  • YMCA of Okanagan: $428,801 for the YMCA Youth Works program. It offers 3 weeks of essential skills and job readiness training, followed by 3 months of work experience and 12 weeks of job support follow-up.
  • Bowman Employment Services: $438,335 for the Get Youth Working for Youth in the Thompson-Okanagan Region program. It provides 3 months of entry-level job placements in early childhood assistant, cashier and construction fields.
  • Kelowna Community Resources Society:
    • $275,195 for the Job Readiness in the 21st Century: Skills Initiative for Specialized Populations in the Central Okanagan program. This includes 6 weeks of job readiness training followed by 4 weeks of job placement supports and 8 weeks of follow-up for participants including immigrants, persons with disabilities and older workers.
    • $301,702 for the Essential Skills Training in the 21st Century for Job Seekers in the Central Okanagan program. This is a cohort-based, essential skills program that offers 6 weeks of training followed by a 4-week job placement and 8 weeks of follow-up.
  • British Columbia Construction Association: $828,381 for the Skilled Trades Employment Program (STEP) Thompson-Okanagan. This one-to-one construction employment placement provides workplace supports, short-term certificate training, job placement connections and promotion of apprenticeships.

“Everyone has to start somewhere—and these training opportunities and personal supports will get job seekers on the path to success,” says Premier Christy Clark, MLA for Westside-Kelowna. “The ESS Program will ensure we meet our commitments under B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint to give people the right skills in the right place at the right time.”

“With nearly one million job openings coming available by 2024 due to retirements and economic growth, these investments in skills training are critical to keep our economy growing,” says Norm Letnick, MLA for Kelowna-Lake Country. “I wish job seekers well in their pursuit of these opportunities.”

“These programs will put British Columbians first in line for the jobs of tomorrow, and help the Province meet the needs of a rapidly-changing labour market,” says Steve Thomson, MLA for Kelowna-Mission. “Job seekers can expect to learn how to prepare for entry into, or return to, sustainable employment.”

Some of these programs are delivered in partnership with the Industry Training Authority and the Ministry of Advanced Education. The goal of the training is to help unemployed British Columbians who face barriers to workforce participation to find sustainable employment. The programs are now underway, and the majority will continue into September 2016.

Through the Canada Job Fund, the Government of Canada provides $500 million annually to the provinces and territories for investments in skills training. Under the Canada–British Columbia Job Fund Agreement, the province receives $65 million per year—its per capita share of the available funding.

The Canada-British Columbia Job Fund helps ensure training programs give individuals the skills to enter and succeed in the job market. The goal of the Employment Services and Supports stream is to increase the labour market participation of unemployed British Columbians who are not eligible for Employment Insurance programming and services.

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