WorkBC has announced that funding is available for employers who want to further their employee’s training. The Canada-B.C. Job Grant (CJG) is open to businesses that fall within the BC Jobs Plan priority sectors. The sectors included are: agrifoods, Aboriginal Peoples and First Nations, construction, forestry, manufacturing, mining and energy, natural gas, small business, technology and green economy, tourism and transportation.
Local employment counsellor Tamara Childs said, “Employers need to know about this so that they can take full advantage of this grant money so they can help their employees or future employees get fully trained up.” Many of the eligible sectors are well represented in our area. “Small business owners, because they are working on the tightest budget, might benefit the most; but anyone involved in these sectors can benefit,” said Childs.
The targeted funding of up to $3 million is for eligible employers and organizations in these sectors to train new and current employees for available jobs. According to the WorkBC website, “The goal of the CJG is to increase participation of British Columbians in the labour force and help them to develop the skills necessary to find and keep a job.”
WorkBC outlines the objectives of the program as: “To encourage greater employer involvement in training to ensure that skills are better aligned to job opportunities; and to make it as easy as possible for all residents of British Columbia to get the help they need to develop the skills necessary to quickly find and maintain employment.”
The grant has a two fold purpose. “They want it to be training that will benefit the company, to help them to be more competitive in our twenty first century, but also to help upgrade the skills of the employees,” explained Kootenay Work Force Development Coordinator Carol Currie.
The criteria is based around helping the employees get a better job. This could be anything from getting the job, increasing hours or increasing responsibility to preventing loss of the job due to lack of training. “It can even be for what they are calling essential skills,” said Currie, “Basics like reading, writing, numeracy, computer skills, using documents. If that is going to make that person better in their job, that is something that meets the criteria.”
Currie explained that the type of training covered is vast. It goes beyond the basics above to almost anything that a specific company could need. Training can be obtained through existing programs that colleges and training centres offer, or be customized to specific needs. It can cover training for an individual or for the entire staff. One example Currie gave was that of a company that is getting some sort of new machinery, they could apply for funding that would would be needed to train staff on that new machinery.
Locally, Selkirk College has many programs in place that would fit into the requirements of the CJG. If a business is interested in finding out what Selkirk offers, they can contact Gregg Neelin at 250-365-1256.
Community Futures Central Kootenay also offers business skills training. Classes on bookkeeping, marketing, social media, website design, and more are available. They also provide customized training for groups. For more information contact Janeen Mather 250-352-1933 ext. 100.
Kootenay Work Force Development Coordinator Carol Currie is also available to help businesses understand the grant and how it might benefit their company. She can be reached at 250-304-9225.
The CJG opened up for applications on Jan. 4. All training must start on or before March 31, 2016. The maximum amount that will be provided to an individual employer is $250,000. The maximum grant allowable per individual participant is $10,000. More information and applications can be found at www.workbc.ca.