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Posted: January 10, 2019

Provincial funds bolster STE programs

The provincial government is inviting B.C. service providers to submit proposals to deliver skills training and employment services under two new Skills Training for Employment (STE) programs posted to BC Bid.

“Survivors of violence and abuse, and older workers, face multiple barriers to finding steady, good-paying jobs. I’m proud that our government is expanding programs that help break down those barriers,” said Melanie Mark, Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training. “We’re lifting up the people who need it the most to improve their quality of life so they will benefit from a prosperous economy that works for everyone.”

The $3.2-million Survivors of Violence and Abuse program will provide supports to over 300 people per year. The $3.2-million Older Workers 55+ program will help 400 people update their skills.

Both programs will include skills training and wraparound supports, to address the barriers to employment that older workers and survivors of violence and abuse can face. The programs will be available regardless of eligibility for Employment Insurance, giving those with multiple barriers more access to skills training and supports for employment.

Starting in 2019, the province is investing $26.8 million per year in six STE programs, to help up to 3,500 people throughout B.C. access training and wraparound supports to obtain sustainable employment.

Wraparound supports address barriers to participation in skills training and employment. Examples include counselling, mentoring, child care, transportation, disability supports, work experience, wage subsidies and equipment, a Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training media release explained.

The STE programs are funded through the Workforce Development Agreement, which was signed in March 2018 with the Government of Canada.

Skills Training for Employment (STE) programs help British Columbians who face barriers to participation in the labour market, regardless of Employment Insurance eligibility.

There are six STE programs, which focus on: Indigenous persons; young adults; young adults at risk; older workers (55 years of age and older); survivors of violence and abuse; and multi-barrier individuals.

These programs are funded by the Canada-BC Workforce Development Agreement (WDA). The WDA replaced the Canada-BC Job Fund and the Targeted Initiative for Older Workers agreements and the Labour Market Development Agreement for Persons with Disabilities in 2018. The new agreement gives the Province more flexibility in meeting its labour-market demands and skills-training needs as it strives to build a strong, sustainable, innovative economy with a focus on poverty and inequality reduction.

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