A new year brings a new horizon for locals looking for help in the job market.
After 20 years of providing the WorkBC Employment Program in Trail, the Skills Centre has announced it will no longer offer those services effective April 1.
The contract went to a new provider, the Kootenay Career Development Society (KCDS). The society currently operates WorkBC Employment Services Centres in Nelson and Castlegar.
Morag Carter, executive director for the Skills Centre, says employment services will still be available in Trail after the first of April, but they will be run by KCDS.
Once the Skills Centre contract ends, the organization will head in a new direction.
“Although these services will be provided by another community based non-profit organization,” she said. “We will be continuing to work with our (employment) clients until they are formally transitioned to the new service provider.”
The Trail organization will continue to operate its popular job board as staff focuses on other key mandates.
For example, the centre will work on addressing work place diversity, developing solutions to child care shortages, and looking at poverty reduction strategies.
“The Skills Centre has built considerable expertise in addressing workplace diversity, building employer relationships and workplace knowledge,” explained Carter. “This is especially evident in developing programs to eliminate barriers to women developing careers in the non-traditional and industrial sectors. We have a number of initiatives currently in development, although as yet unfunded.”
As far as the lack of child care services in Greater Trail, a prevalent issue for many families, Carter’s team will remain on-point in finding fixes.
“Family supports are not always available for shift and casual workers who make up a significant portion of the region’s workforce,” she explained. “The Skills Centre has been working to develop a solution to critical child care shortages in the region that are affecting employers’ ability to recruit and retain younger workers – especially women – in the area.”
Another matter that will stay at the forefront is poverty reduction. Over the years, the Skills Centre has been at the helm of developing a plan for poverty reduction as solutions are often linked to inclusion and workforce development.
“The Skills Centre has built a poverty reduction program for the Lower Columbia which reflects and reinforces the provincial governments’ program and priorities for poverty reduction,” said Carter. “Our goal is to strengthen the social fabric of the community and offer opportunities for multi-barriered individuals to enter the workforce.”
This news from the Skills Centre came only days after the group received a $10,000 BC Rural Dividend grant to help it look at ways to consolidate and work alongside other local non-profits.
“Shared space concepts create the possibility for sharing resources,” she told the Trail Times.
Costs and overhead can be significantly reduced when administrative functions such as payroll and HR services are divided between agencies.
“Shared spaces can also can create the opportunities to increase collaboration among groups and can create the environment in which real program or delivery innovation can occur,” Carter said. “It’s for these reasons that it has been and remains an attractive proposition, and this grant allows us to start exploring these possibilities.”
To learn more about the Kootenay Career Development Society, visit their website at kcds.ca.