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Posted: August 1, 2017

Apply for a wage subsidy: hire a student

Act fast to apply for the popular School Works program

If your business or organization could benefit from hiring a student during the school year, Columbia Basin Trust’s School Works program may be able to help you afford it. Applications for the popular first-come, first-served program open August 10.

“Each year, Basin employers hire hundreds of students with help from wage subsidies from the Trust,” said Lisa Kilpatrick, Columbia Basin Trust Senior Manager, Economic. “This has significant economic impact in our communities, helping businesses, non-profits and other organizations provide services and grow in ways they wouldn’t be able to otherwise. It also provides jobs and experience to Basin students, which benefits the students now and into their future careers.”

The program provides a wage subsidy of $8/hour to help employers provide part-time employment to full-time high school and post-secondary students for a portion or all of the school year. Co-op and practicum student positions are eligible, as are first-level apprenticeship positions in construction, electrician, carpentry, heavy duty mechanic and automotive service technician programs. Small businesses, non-profits, First Nations organizations and public bodies in the Columbia Basin may apply.

Creston’s Tilia Botanicals is one of the businesses that benefited last year from Columbia Basin Trust’s School Works program. Left to right: Jessica Shearer (co-owner) and Lindsay Daignault (student).

Ryan Tarves co-owns Spirit Rock Climbing Centre in Kimberley and used the program to hire an instructor for its after-school program. “We can’t count on consistent enrollment each month, so as a business it can be a little challenging if you’ve got staff you have to pay regardless. The wage subsidy gives us the ability to always have the program available.”

Creston’s Tilia Botanicals also benefited from the program. “As a small business person, it’s very, very hard to employ people,” said co-owner Rachel Beck. “You’re right at that margin where you need people but you’re not quite where you can afford them, so the program really helps take you to that next level. We’d never have been able to expand some of our product lines without having this program. We just wouldn’t have had the time.”

In Castlegar, Susanne Thomas owns Crumbs Bakery Cafe. “It has taught us it’s a really good idea to hire young people. I would have never thought of hiring a 15 year old without this program, but we’ve had such a great experience. They are two of the most reliable workers we’ve had. Plus the subsidy has given us the chance to put more time into product development, growing our business and researching new suppliers.”

“This program has been successful in supporting businesses and organizations in the Basin, and each year we see an increase in applications. We are privileged to be a part of it,” said Tracey Whiting, College of the Rockies Manager, Continuing Education and Contract Training.

Castlegar’s Crumbs Bakery Café is one of the businesses that benefited last year from Columbia Basin Trust’s School Works program. Left to right: Susanne Thomas (owner) and Cameran Millar (student).

For more information on School Works and to download the application form, visit, email [email protected] or call 1-877-489-2687 ext. 3584. Applications will be available starting August 10, at 1 p.m. PT / 2 p.m. MT.

Columbia Basin Trust supports the ideas and efforts of the people in the Columbia Basin. To learn more about the Trust’s programs and initiatives, and how it helps deliver social, economic and environmental benefits to the Basin, visit or call 1-800-505-8998.

Lead image: Spirit Rock Climbing Center in Kimberley is one of the businesses that benefited last year from Columbia Basin Trust’s School Works program. Left to right: Ryan Tarves (co-owner) and Mackenzie McLean (student). Columbia Basin Trust photos

Columbia Basin Trust

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