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New funding helps connect people to jobs in social services sector

By Richmond Sentinel

Published 2:53 PST, Mon November 21, 2022

As many as 24 eligible people will receive the skills and training required to prepare to be disability employment specialists.

A new provincial Community and Employer Partnerships (CEP) project focuses on providing occupational training and work experience to immigrants, Indigenous people, persons with disabilities, and youth in the Lower Mainland.

"The unemployment rate for people with disabilities is 4.5 per cent higher than for those without. However, we know that diverse and inclusive workplaces have better business outcomes," said Nicholas Simons, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction. "Employing more people with disabilities is key to building a stronger, more inclusive economy in B.C."

The province is providing more than $285,000 to Options Community Services Society to deliver two intakes of its disability employment specialist training program in the Lower Mainland and Kamloops areas of the province.

"This training will give people the skills and knowledge required to gain employment as disability employment specialists, disability case managers, and community services workers," said Christine Mohr, chief executive officer of Options Community Services.

Participants will receive 12 weeks of employability and occupational skills training, including navigating diversity, diverse abilities, and the role of case managers; eight weeks of on-the-job work experience with local employers; and three weeks of followup support to assist in their job search in the social services sector.

"With this new program, more people with disabilities will be able to join the social services sector and make contributions to their communities," said Andrew Mercier, Parliamentary Secretary for Skills Training. "This program aligns with our Future Ready plan, which is making it easier and more affordable for British Columbians to gain the skills, knowledge, and workforce connections they require to be successful in a changing economy."

Full-time, group-based classroom learning for the first intake of the project is underway with second intake starting in May 2023. People interested in finding out about this or other CEP projects can contact their local WorkBC centre.

Funding for the project is provided through the Project Based Labour Market Training stream of WorkBC's CEP. CEP investments are targeted at projects that support an inclusive economic recovery. CEP projects support B.C. job seekers' training and work experience, and help businesses and communities address labour market challenges. Through CEP, the province invests $15 million annually in communities throughout B.C.

This announcement is part of StrongerBC's Future Ready plan. Future Ready is making education and training more accessible, affordable and relevant to help businesses grow and prepare British Columbians for the jobs of tomorrow.

To learn how CEPs are helping local communities, visit

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