Paid jobs program helps unemployed find work

Ten-week course starts November 5 in Cranbrook and Kimberley

People in Cranbrook and Kimberley who are unable to find work can now get paid to take a 10-week course that will increase their employment skills.

The Job Options program will start November 5 in both cities. It is funded by the B.C. Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training, and administered by the Canadian Mental Health Association – Kootenays.

“The goal of the program is to provide participants with employment skills and life skills to find long term sustainable employment,” said program coordinator Nick Dritsas.

The Job Options program is for unemployed people who have not had a regular Employment Insurance claim in the past three years nor a parental EI claim in the past five years.

Participants are paid $10 an hour during the six-week in-class training component. It runs from Monday to Thursday and amounts to 25 hours a week.

Training covers employment skills such as interview skills, networking and computer skills, and life skills such as time management, communication and goal setting.

The last four weeks of the program is a community-based work placement. The employer is given half of the hourly wage for the participant, up to $8 an hour.

The goal of the program is to provide the skills each participant needs to provide long-term stable employment. The participants address a number of topics throughout the program and they will be able to take these skills into the workplace.

As well as participants, Job Options also wants to get in touch with employers who can provide work experience, even if just for the four-week work experience phase of the program.

We deal with all types of skill levels, everything from people with a masters degree in chemistry, to people with a Grade 10 education,” said Dritsas.

“We are a catch-all group and we would appeal to any employer,” he said, adding that Job Options works with employers ranging from Subway to Teck. Program participants can be skilled workers, university graduates, and people just starting their careers.

Participants can call 250-426-8019 for more information or to sign up for the November 5 program.