Apply now for work experience grant

By Richmond Sentinel

Published 11:58 PST, Mon January 18, 2021

Last Updated: 2:49 PST, Fri February 12, 2021

Non-profit organizations can now apply for the second round of the province's Work Experience Opportunities Grant to help deliver work experience placements to British Columbians with disabilities and people facing multiple barriers to employment.

"Many people with disabilities and people with persistent multiple barriers have lost their jobs or are having difficulty finding work in a labour market that's been severely impacted by COVID-19," said Nicholas Simons, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction. "The Work Experience Opportunities Grant provides them new ways to participate in, and benefit from, B.C.'s economic recovery."

With $10 million from StrongerBC: BC's Economic Recovery Plan, the grant helps eligible, provincial non-profit organizations and federally registered charities provide 12-week work experience opportunities for people with disabilities and multiple barriers who are eligible for disability benefits from the Province and Government of Canada.

Non-profit organizations can also partner with businesses for work experience placements.

The second intake is open. Applications will be accepted until midnight, Feb. 16, 2021.

"The Chase Hamper Society is extremely excited to have been awarded the chance to provide adults with diverse abilities an opportunity to take part in the Work Experience Opportunities Grant," said Maureen MacDonald, executive food bank manager, Chase Hamper Society. "The Chase Hamper Society will employ three individuals from the community who will learn the operations of their local food bank. We are excited to welcome these individuals as part of our food bank family."

Organizations can apply for $5,000 per participant, to a maximum of five participants. The grants include a stipend for participants and are projected to help 2,000 British Columbians gain the work experience needed for long-term employment opportunities.

"This grant provides funding to eligible non-profit organizations in BC to help them deliver inclusive employment supports and opportunities to some of our most vulnerable and under-represented citizens," said Niki Sharma, parliamentary secretary for community development and non-profits.

Eligible participants include people with the provincial Persons with Disabilities designation, Persons with Persistent Multiple Barriers status and Indigenous peoples on reserve who have the equivalent federal designation.

At the end of the work placement, participants can receive help from WorkBC centres to leverage their work experience into other employment opportunities.

More than 75 organizations applied to the first intake of the Work Experience Opportunities Grant, which ran from Nov. 3 to Dec. 7. Those applications are currently under review and organizations will be notified as soon as possible.

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, an estimated 5,000 people receiving income and disability assistance have experienced job loss.

This announcement is part of B.C.'s $10-billion COVID-19 response, which includes StrongerBC- a plan that protects people's health and livelihoods, while supporting businesses and communities.

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