Two Kootenay-based social enterprises are getting a face lift while seven job-seekers are gaining valuable work experience in the process.

The Province is providing $240,171 in combined funding for two separate projects that will renovate buildings owned by the Kootenay Region Association for Community Living in Creston

and the Trail Association for Community Living, allowing them to better serve their communities.

The work will be completed, under professional supervision, by EI-eligible participants looking to enhance their employment skills, who were referred to the projects by local WorkBC Employment Services Centres.

In Creston, four participants have been selected to carry on the renovation of buildings at Spectrum Farms, a social enterprise that houses and employs people with complex needs to grow and harvest fruit and vegetables, raise free-range chickens, and raise sheep for food and wool. On this $146,050-project, participants will complete the renovation of the Rosewood building, which houses the farm’s fibre mill and will be home to a market this spring to allow goods to be sold on-site. The completion of the market building will also be included in the project.

During the 37-week project, participants will gain work experience in construction, renovation, building plan interpretation, and the safe and proper use of tools.

This new work experience will enhance their search for full-time employment.

This new project builds on a previous Job Creation Partnership. In 2016, government contributed about $84,000 to the Kootenay Region Association for Community Living to begin the renovation of the Spectrum Farms buildings. That led to two participants gaining full-time employment.

The project in Trail will see three people gain similar work experience as they renovate the Trail Association for Community Living’s community inclusion centre, thrift store and extreme-weather shelter. The $94,121, 29-week project includes adding Murphy beds and storage for the extreme-weather shelter, as participants learn on-the-job how to install cabinets.

The community inclusion centre, which acts as the association’s main hub for social services for people with disabilities as well as programs, activities and employment services will also get a face-lift, while the association’s thrift store will see new shelving and flooring.

Funding for the projects is provided through the Job Creation Partnerships stream of the Community and Employer Partnerships program.

Job Creation Partnerships are part of the Employment Program of British Columbia’s Community and Employer Partnerships, which fund projects that increase employability and share labour market information.

Community and Employer Partnerships are featured in B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint and provide more support to people who are struggling to gain a foothold in the job market.

It helps build stronger partnerships with industry and labour to connect British Columbians with classroom and on-the-job training, while making it easier for employers to hire the skilled workers they need – when and where they need them.

To date, more than 1,400 job seekers benefited from work experience and more than 260 projects have been funded throughout the province.

Skill enhancement is one of the key ways the B.C. government is taking action to strengthen and grow rural communities. To further support the needs of rural communities and grow local economies, the Province will be releasing a Rural Economic Development Strategy in the near future.

Quotes:

Michelle Stilwell, Minister of Social Development and Social Innovation –

“These two projects will have a positive impact on both Kootenay communities, helping the people who need it most to access specialized services that are important to their livelihoods.

The Job Creation Partnership participants are also going to benefit in a big way with new work experience they can add to their resumes as they search for full-time jobs.”

Nancy Gurr, executive director, Trail Association for Community Living –

“TACL is a progressive organization committed to providing quality services to individuals with diverse needs.

The Job Creation Partnership renovation project is providing a great opportunity for three individuals to build their skills and self-confidence while completing renovations that will allow us to provide even more opportunities for the individuals we serve.”

Ed Swanson, president, Kootenay Region Association for Community Living –

“The Job Creation Partnership has made it possible for us to renovate Rosewood and establish several new social enterprises which will contribute to the success of Spectrum Farms.

The ability to process and market our fruit, produce, and wool on-site will enhance the viability of the project and increase the employment opportunities for our workers.”

Val, participant in Creston –

“I am learning so much from this experience. I hope to get a full-time construction job once my time with the program is complete.

Our supervisor is a patient teacher and always willing to help learn the right way and safe way to do things.”

Todd Clayton, participant in Trail –

“I love it. It has been harder than I expected physically but I love learning and feeling comfortable to ask questions and learn without being judged.

The supervisors take the time to help me learn and explain things to me.”

Quick Facts:

  • Community living associations provide services and offer support for people with disabilities and special needs.
  • Spectrum Farms, owned by the Kootenay Region Association for Community Living, currently employs five people, including three who live on site.
  • Its market is expected to be open in May.
  • The Trail Association for Community Living’s thrift store offers specialized employment opportunities for people with disabilities and special needs and acts as a place to provide homeless people with clothing and goods.
  • Local WorkBC Employment Services Centres play a lead role in connecting eligible job seekers to Job Creation Partnership and Project Based Labour Market Training opportunities in their communities. Once the right match of client to project has been found, the effort of the WorkBC Centre continues by providing financial supports and services to ensure success.
  • In 2016-17, the ministry has committed to investing $331 million in employment and labour market programs under the Employment Program of B.C.
  • The Employment Program of B.C. is funded by the Province of British Columbia as well as the Government of Canada through the Labour Market Development Agreement.
  • Funding supports 84 WorkBC Employment Services Centres throughout the province and the five components of the Community and Employer Partnerships fund:
    • Job Creation Partnerships
    • Labour Market Partnerships
    • Project-Based Labour Market Training
    • Research and Innovation
    • Social Innovation

Who is eligible for Community and Employer Partnerships funding?

  • Businesses
  • Non-profit organizations
  • Crown corporations
  • Municipalities, agencies or territorial governments
  • Bands/tribal councils
  • Public health and educational institutions

Learn More:

To find out more about the BC Jobs Plan: https://bcjobsplan.gov.bc.ca/

Learn more about the Trail Association for Community Living: http://www.taclkootenays.com/

Learn more about the Kootenay Region Association for Community Living: www.kracl.org

For more information on Community and Employer Partnerships: www.workbc.ca/CEP

Find a local WorkBC Employment Services Centre: www.workbccentres.ca

Learn more about the Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation: www.gov.bc.ca/sdsi

For more information on B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint: www.workbc.ca/skills