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Posted: November 7, 2017

Locals learn while highlighting history

Six people have gained valuable work experience on a project, funded in part by the province, which highlights the history – and friendly rivalry – of the East and Central (West) Kootenay.

The project participants have gained experience in the areas of database and digital assets management, as well as computer, communication and networking skills. They have assisted the Columbia Basin Institute of Regional History by creating two Internet exhibits and four temporary installations for local museums about the history of the area.

The Columbia Basin Institute of Regional History is a non-profit history society dedicated to furthering the documentation and presentation of the Columbia Basin human and natural history.

Anna Majkowski, executive director of the Columbia Basin Institute of Regional History stressed the importance of the project: “Anything we do in a community requires us to be familiar with its people, its issues and, most importantly, its history. Taking the time and effort to understand your community is a good way to gain a comprehensive overview of what it is now, what it has been in the past and what it could be in the future. Overall, history is a large source of social support and it is what ties us all together. You cannot know where you’re going if you do not know where you came from.”

Through the project, which ended Nov. 3, the participants gained the skills and confidence needed to find full-time employment at the end of the project.

“I learned a lot about sourcing historical resources, such as UBC digital collections and Government of B.C. mining reports and using interlibrary loans from the Cranbrook Public Library,” said Don Moore, one of the project participants. “Also, I gained confidence in my writing ability and improved my competencies in software applications such as Microsoft Excel and Adobe Photoshop.”

One online exhibit created during the project, entitled Mirror of Development, shows the similarities in the development over time between the cities of Rossland and Kimberley. The exhibit may also shed light on the longstanding question of whether Rossland or Kimberley is, as both have claimed, the highest town in North America.

“The similarities in our communities far outweigh the differences,” said Katrine Conroy, MLA for Kootenay West. “All of the towns in the region are full of proud, hard-working people who come together in times of need, as this past summer showed. I look forward to exploring the online exhibits in depth and want to thank the six participants who have given our region a wonderful gift.”

Shane Simpson, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction, echoed Conroy’s comments: “In helping British Columbians understand more about our rich past, the participants have helped create a gift for future generations. Now, their stories of gaining new skills and working towards a brighter future are also part of the Kootenays’ legacy.”

The $45,880 in funding from the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction for this project is provided through the Job Creation Partnerships stream of the Community and Employer Partnerships program, which funds projects that increase employability levels and share labour market information.

The Community and Employer Partnerships program provides more support to people who are struggling to gain a foothold in the job market. It helps build stronger partnerships with industry and labour to connect British Columbians with classroom and on-the-job training, while making it easier for employers to hire the skilled workers they need.

To date, the program has helped more than 1,675 job seekers benefit from work experience and funded almost 300 projects throughout the province.

View the online exhibits

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