New year means changes for employment program

  • Dec. 19, 2011 6:00 a.m.

Prince Rupert-based Hecate Strait Employment Development Society will be taking over career and employment programs on the islands this spring, but executive director Kathy Bedard said islanders likely won’t notice much change. In fact, she said, there may be even more services available here in the future, like programs for new immigrants and people with disabilities. The Career Development Centre is currently run by the local Haida Gwaii Community Futures, but general manager Art Lew said Community Futures couldn’t afford to bid on the new contract the provincial government was offering for the career service. Mr. Lew said March 31 will be the last day that the Career Development Centre is operated under the Community Futures umbrella. Hecate Strait will take over as of April 2. Mr. Lew said he believes Hecate Strait will offer a good program for islanders, and that the level of service will remain the same. Three people work for the Career Development Centre in Masset and two work out of the south end, Mr. Lew said. Ms Bedard said she hopes to hire the existing staff and form partnerships with various groups on the islands, which will allow Hecate Strait to expand its employment and training services. Hecate Strait has been running the self-employment benefits program on the islands for the past 17 years, she said, and has also offered programs for youth and mature workers here. Right now Hecate Strait has offices in Masset and in Queen Charlotte. “I’m hoping that through our partnerships we’ll be able to expand our services to Haida Gwaii,” Ms Bedard said.