Work experience grant’s fourth intake offers new options

February 2, 2022 at 8:49 am  BC, News, Politics, Provincial

The fourth intake of B.C.’s Work Experience Opportunities Grant offers $2 million for flexible, paid work experience opportunities.

Non-profit organizations have until midnight March 2, 2022, to apply for the grant, which helps support paid work experience opportunities for eligible British Columbians receiving income or disability assistance and Indigenous people receiving equivalent federal assistance.

“Building on what we’ve learned from the previous intakes, we’re adding a new, flexible option to support individuals who can only work a few hours each week,” said Nicholas Simons, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction. “By providing options, we’re making sure that people with disabilities are not left behind.”

The Work Experience Opportunities Grant, established in 2020, allows non-profit organizations to apply for $5,000 per eligible participant for a 12-week work experience placement of approximately 20 hours per week or a new option of approximately 10 hours per week for as many as 20 weeks.

Mission Possible, a non-profit, community economic development agency in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, was able to provide 10 individuals with 12 weeks of supported work experience in 2021, thanks to a Work Experience Opportunities Grant of $50,000.

“Being able to create new opportunities for individuals who want to work, but need the right opportunity is the best part,” said Matthew Smedley, executive director and CEO of Mission Possible. “Seeing them succeed, grow in confidence and move into sustained employment is amazing. We know that the return on investment in supporting subsidized employment pays dividends to the community, and it can also change the trajectory of the participant’s life.”

In addition, eligibility criteria have been revised to focus on skilled operators in the non-profit sector who have experience and expertise working with individuals with disabilities or significant barriers to entering the labour market.

“The Work Experience Opportunities Grant supports community social services agencies to play a vital role as we continue to move forward into economic recovery,” said Niki Sharma, Parliamentary Secretary for Community Development and Non-Profits. “By providing inclusive employment supports, we can remove barriers so that more people are able to participate in paid work experience opportunities.”

In 2020-21, more than 250 organizations applied to the Work Experience Opportunities Grant and more than 800 individuals were provided an opportunity to gain valuable work experience.

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