WorkBC celebrates successful job-seekers as it marks its fourth anniversary

After just four years in operation, WorkBC Employment Services Centres have helped put more than 77,000 British Columbians back to work.

Launched in April 2012, WorkBC has provided services to over 221,000 people in communities throughout the province. Last year, 52% of those who received one-on-one personalized supports found a job and that number continues to grow.

WorkBC Centres provide a range of services and supports that help unemployed British Columbians prepare for, find and maintain employment. WorkBC Centres offer more than just traditional job search resources – they also provide specialized services and supports to people with disabilities, Aboriginal people, immigrants, youth and survivors of violence or abuse – specialized populations that can often find it difficult to gain a foothold in the job market.

With more than 71% of people who received services and supports having faced barriers to employment, WorkBC Centres are filling a need and demonstrating success.

Frances is a young woman with a developmental disability. She was interested in getting a paying job as a step toward greater independence and approached the WorkBC Centre in Creston to help her achieve her goal.

WorkBC connected Frances with a local restaurant, Gin’s on Canyon, last March when searching for a suitable employment opportunity. With job coaching for Frances and other WorkBC Centre supports in place, Gin’s jumped on board. When Frances started work, Gin’s provided its standard staff training, and the WorkBC Centre job coach provided extra support to help Frances settle into her new role, which has been a success for all involved.

John Lalonde did not want his hearing loss to keep him from pursuing his dream job as a bike mechanic in Revelstoke, so he reached out to his local WorkBC Employment Services Centre for help.

After a quick assessment, the WorkBC Centre helped John craft a plan to help manage his hearing loss and retain his job – and offered financial support to help him get two hearing aids. Now, thanks to his hearing aids and support from the WorkBC Centre team, John is hard at work as a bike mechanic and sales representative.

Sharada is a job seeker with a young family who moved to B.C. from Nepal in 2010. Sharada contacted WorkBC when she needed assistance exploring new career choices.

Sharada has a degree in business studies and some out-of-country experience in administration. After moving to Canada she worked in a food court for one year. She met with a WorkBC case manager who helped her research the job market and complete career assessments. She decided on a one-year training plan for an Early Childhood Education Certificate and received support for tuition, books and transportation from the WorkBC Centre. Sharada was hired immediately by a daycare in Surrey after she successfully completed her certificate, and she continues to work there full time.

The range of supports available through WorkBC Centres is what makes the service work. Individuals are connected with a case manager who will assess their needs and put the right supports in place to help people succeed. This could include help with child care costs, money for public transit, assistive technology and devices or financial support during an apprenticeship or skills training.

The services available can also create opportunities for collaboration on innovative projects like the Baristas Employment Training Program and the Learning Employment and Development Skills program. The Baristas Employment Training Program is a unique partnership between Starbucks, the Pacific Community Resources Society and five Vancouver WorkBC Centres that provides support, guidance and training to at-risk youth, helping to prepare them for employment. The Learning Employment and Development Skills program is offered through YWCA WorkBC Centres in Metro Vancouver and helps youth and survivors of violence build their skills and find new opportunities. The program offers specialized employment services for survivors of violence and/or abuse over a period of up to 12 weeks.

With 84 WorkBC Centres and over 100 satellite offices throughout the province, employment services are available in almost every community for people who are unemployed or those looking for their next job. These centres, as well as the online resources available at WorkBC.ca provide a one-stop-shop for job seekers and employers looking to access employment and labour-market programs and services.

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