Over the next decade, there will be about 1.1 million job openings in British Columbia and specialized programs to help new Canadians will be in place to help immigrants access these opportunities
Stephanie Cadieux, Minister of Social Development said British Columbians need to be ready to take advantage of these opportunities so they can support their families and contribute to their communities.
The new Employment Program of BC will provide unemployed British Columbians with the supports and services they need to do just that - get back to work and be self-sufficient, said Cadieux.
Each of the 85 new WorkBC Employment Services Centres and 114 satellite offices that opened across the province on April 2 offers a full suite of employment programs while ensuring quick and easy access through a single door.
When job seekers visit one of the centres, they will meet with an employment advisor to help identify the supports and services they need to find - and keep - a job. Then, depending on their eligibility, they will get help building their resume, taking additional training, or building other skills that will help them find success in their job search.
Knowing that not everyone's needs are the same, service providers are responsible for ensuring that everyone - including specialized populations and people living in smaller communities - has access to the full suite of employment services. Specialized populations include immigrants, youth, Aboriginal peoples, Francophones, people with multiple barriers, survivors of violence and/or abuse, people with disabilities and people living in rural and remote areas.
Before any contracts for the new Employment Program of BC were awarded, service providers had to demonstrate a clear understanding of the specific needs of the people living in their local area and identify how they were going to meet the needs of their communities.
For example, in communities where language barriers exist, services are being offered in multiple languages and job seekers are providing access to translation and interpretation services as needed. Under this new program, people with English as a second language are receiving the same or better services as were previously offered, but with increased access and choice.
People living in rural or remote locations may access services through satellite centres or through mobile, online or outreach services. All locations are fully accessible.
To ensure no one falls between the cracks, a comprehensive performance management system is in place to ensure the program delivers on its promise, said Cadieux.
Two external advisory panels - one of which focuses exclusively on the needs of specialized populations - are being set up to provide advice and recommendations to the Ministry of Social Development. This will help the ministry assess and adjust the program on an ongoing basis to ensure that people's needs are being met.
As well, a Centre for Employment Excellence will launch in the fall that will offer resources, training and technical assistance to the employment services sector with the goal of improving employment outcomes for anyone looking for work in the province.
“Through the new Employment Program of BC, we are delivering on our commitment to ensure all British Columbians have the supports and services they need to find a job and get back into the workforce quickly,” added Cadieux.
There are 85 WorkBC Employment Services Centres across B.C., operated by 47 contractors who work with more than 300 service providers to deliver employment services across the province.
The ministry has committed to investing $331 million in employment and labour market programs.
More than 140,000 British Columbians have received services through WorkBC Employment Services Centres since the Employment Program of BC was launched on April 2, 2012.
Of these, 84 per cent had an employment case manager working directly with them to meet their individual needs, while the others were able to use self-serve options.
Consistently, between 40 and 50 per cent of people who have received and completed case managed services have found employment.
More than 67,000 people are currently receiving case management services. Of those, more than 15,000 have identified themselves as having a disability.
66 per cent of people who have received case-managed services through EPBC have self-identified as belonging to at least one specialized populations category, such as Aboriginal, francophone, immigrant, person with a disability, rural or remote, having multiple barriers to employment, survivor of violence and/or abuse, or youth.
The average wage for a person who has found a job directly through the Employment Program of BC is $15.60 an hour.