$95 million in provincial funds will be distributed to organizations across B.C. to provide skills training and job opportunities.
Cranbrook will be receiving some of the funds through the Wildland Firefighting and Silviculture program. The program prepares people with criminal justice system involvement for work as a firefighter.
“The global pandemic presented unprecedented challenges for British Columbians who lost their jobs or became under-employed,” said Anne Kang, Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Training.
“These new community-based skills training projects will help people facing employment challenges receive the training and support they need to help themselves while also building our economy.”
According to the province, the funds will be distributed through three streams, the Community Workforce Response Grant program, the B.C. Employer Training Grant program and the Skills Training for Employment programs.
The Community Workforce Response Grant program will receive $33 million to train 3,700 British Columbians affected by COVID-19 for in-demand work and jobs with changing skill requirements.
The B.C. government said Short-term skills training projects are prioritized for low-skilled workers, youth, women, older workers 55+, Indigenous people, recent immigrants, people of colour and those with an employment history in an industry or sector impacted by the pandemic.
“As B.C. emerges from the pandemic, some industries are beginning to experience labour shortages. As part of our economic recovery, we are creating opportunities for people to get the right skills to meet the demand,” said Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation.
This new funding ensures that people in B.C., particularly those that have been disproportionately impacted, are prepared for our workforce. This is a big step in the right direction for a StrongerBC.”
The B.C. Employer Training Grant program will be getting $2.8 million to train British Columbians who are, or were, working in industries impacted by COVID-19.
The Skills Training for Employment programs will be receiving $59.2 million for 117 new agreements that will provide skills training leading to employment, along with relevant wraparound supports, to 5,200 British Columbians in 2021-22.
According to the province, the programs will target vulnerable populations, including survivors of domestic violence, people with disabilities, individuals with criminal justice-system involvement and recent immigrants.
“We’ve seen the Indigenous, Black and people of colour community tremendously impacted by both the pandemic and systemic racism over the last 18 months,” said Rachna Singh, Parliamentary Secretary for Anti-Racism Initiatives.
“These training opportunities will deliver better outcomes for IBPOC communities and their families. It will also help break down barriers and support them to recover from the loss of their job or income because of COVID-19.”
B.C. officials said the investment is part of B.C.’s Economic Recovery Plan to help thousands of people upskill or reskill and find their place in the post-COVID economy.