The City of Trail and Ashland Training Centre (ATC) have embarked on a team project to provide needed job skills to some local residents while cleaning up some of the overgrown areas of the city.
The city and ATC teams are focusing on two community projects in the area.
The initial project has a team cutting dead brush and removing debris, old shrubbery, and accumulated pine needles on the hillside directly below the Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital and above a portion of the East Trail neighbourhood.
The second project on the books will see the joint teams carrying on with general brush clearing and cleanup and also include cutting back overgrown vegetation from the city’s 50 covered staircases throughout Trail.
After the first two weeks of work progress is already obvious as the team cleans up the forest floor, removing potential fire hazards before the summer heats up.
“When I first saw the area that they’d be working in I thought, ‘good luck,’” said ATC program coordinator, Kathleen Jackson. “But you can already see a pretty big improvement.”
The 10-week Job Options BC WORC (Work Opportunities Referrals and Connections) Program, is jointly funded by the federal and provincial governments from the Canada/BC Labour Market agreement.
The program provides local unemployed individuals with six weeks of employment training workshops,
including resume writing, interview skills, job search training, and basic computer skills.
The participants then get four weeks direct work experience on a community based project to provide them with hands-on work experience and job skills.
“We generally work with people who are new to the workforce; mothers who may have been home raising a family for a long time or kids just out of high school with no real work experience,” said Jackson. “That and people who may have been out of the workforce for a long time and are struggling to get back into regular work.”
The projects offer benefits to the community on a number of fronts.
“We saw partnering with Ashland as a huge opportunity for all parties involved,” says Larry Abenante, city public works manager. “The City can source out projects that need to be completed, whereas the workers get the chance to learn new skills to prepare them for future jobs. Who knows, we may even see them working for the city one day.”