Hecate Strait Employment Development Society has been chosen by the provincial government to administer a new employment program called WorksBC.
The program is meant to streamline access to services by people looking for work or interested in new skills training.
“It’s taking around 400 contacts from all over the province and we reduce them down to 72. The positive side of it is that if you’re unemployed or on social assistance or just looking for a job, there’s a one-door approach top those services. There’s also specialized clients like immigrants, Francophones, women experiencing abuse, Aboriginals, apprenticeships and they can all come in one door,” says Hecate Strait’s executive director, Kathy Bedard.
Hecate Strait will be in charge of managing the program not just for Prince Rupert but for the north coast, including the Haida Gwaii where Bedard says they are contemplating an expansion of services in partnerships with other community organizations such as Haida Gwaii Community Futures. The program is designed to allow for services to be available in WorkBC employment centres located in each community.
The program won’t start until this up coming April. Bedard says that a lot of changes will need to happen at Hecate Strait before they will be ready for their new responsibilities.
“Technology needs to change, there’s probably going to be more employment through Hecate Strait here and on the Haida Gwaii,” says Bedard.
Bedard says the people who will benefit from the new system most are going to be those on social assistance who are looking for work. They’ll be able to go to one place in their community to get access to everything from skills retraining to wage subsidy programs.