Job skills, supports empower survivors to break cycle of violence

Vancouver Friday, October 4, 2019 12:45 PM

Hundreds of survivors of violence and/or abuse in nearly every corner of the province can now access skills training and supports crucial to their independence and healing.

Melanie Mark, Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training, celebrated the launch of 15 programs throughout B.C. at Kiwassa Neighbourhood House. With more than $924,000 over two years, 94 people will gain employment skills and counselling supports through Kiwassa’s new EMPOW3R program.

“People who have survived violence and abuse and face multiple barriers to steady, good-paying jobs deserve opportunities to create better circumstances for themselves and their families,” said Mark. “New programs for vulnerable and under-represented people support them to break the cycle of violence and be part of a prosperous B.C. economy that works for everyone.”

Fifteen projects that are tailored to the needs of local communities are being launched throughout the Province. In total, $5 million a year will support approximately 675 survivors of violence and/or abuse by providing job skills and wraparound supports they need to secure employment.

“The impacts of poverty are far-ranging and complex,” said Shane Simpson, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction. “Connecting survivors of violence with supports and skills training to build their capacity and gain employment will help them as they move toward the independence they need and deserve.”

Survivors of violence and/or abuse may face multiple barriers to employment, including reliable housing and child care, a lack of recent work experience, and psychological and emotional issues related to abuse or trauma.

“Supporting people rebuilding their lives after violence, including gender-based and sexual violence, with skills training means help is available for those who need it most,” said Mitzi Dean, Parliamentary Secretary for Gender Equity. “With 15 organizations throughout B.C. offering programs that meet their communities’ needs, more people can access the supports to move forward and heal.”

To help break down barriers to employment, programs offer wraparound supports that can include work experience and job placements and mental wellness services. Skills training will prepare participants to work in a range of industries, ranging from health care to horticulture, and transportation to technology.

Throughout B.C., some projects will be available for all participants while others will be targeted toward Indigenous peoples, people with disabilities, refugees and other newcomers to Canada, and women.


Mark Gifford, executive director, Kiwassa Neighbourhood Services Society –

“Supports like one-to-one coaching, peer support and child care break down barriers, while career planning, networking and work experience help survivors build skills through the EMPOW3R program. Survivors leave not only with meaningful work or better employment prospects, but with improved confidence, health and relationships they’ve nurtured through the program.”

Patricia Rawson, interim leadership team member, Bridges for Women Society –

“What we understand at Bridges for Women Society is how violence and abuse impact many facets of women’s lives, including employment. Building a foundation of healing, developing the skills and tapping into their own resilience allow our clients to reclaim their lives and end the cycle of violence, as well as isolation and poverty. We are pleased to continue our legacy of trauma-informed programming on southern Vancouver Island. We are grateful to the Province for its commitment to funding programs for women survivors of violence and/or abuse throughout B.C.”

Quick Facts:

  • The majority (87%) of victims of sexual assaults reported to police are female, particularly young women and girls.
  • About two-thirds of domestic violence victims in Canada are women.
  • Indigenous women are 3.5 times more likely than non-Indigenous women to experience violence.
  • While the majority of relationship violence is against women – each year 20,000 women in B.C. experience relationship violence –  some of the new programs are for men who have experienced violence and/or abuse.

Learn More:

WorkBC – jobs, education and career information:

Skills training for employment programs:

Kiwassa Neighbourhood Services Association:



A backgrounder follows.

Training, supports to break the cycle of violence

The Survivors of Violence and/or Abuse program is one of five skills training for employment programs in B.C., funded through the Canada-BC Workforce Development Agreement.

Multiple regions

  • Canadian Vocational Training Centre, Prince George, Vernon, Langley: $1,880,018 over two years for 156 participants
    • The Gateway program targets women, Indigenous peoples and immigrants in rural and remote communities. It includes short-term occupational certification training, Indigenous cultural components and work experience in the participant’s community.

Kootenay region

  • Greater Trail Community Skills Centre, Trail and Grand Forks: $595,499 over two years, 48 participants
    • The Skills Training for Trauma Survivors program offers classes and workshops on computer skills, financial literacy and mindfulness. It includes short-term certification and work experience.
  • Kootenay Employment Services Society, Cranbrook, Creston, Fernie, Invermere: $430,044 over two years, 38 participants
    • The Thrive program offers Indigenous cultural components, short-term certificate and occupational training for the information technology, cannabis, hospitality and tourism industries. Participants gain work experience and have access to a peer-mentored job club.

Mainland/Southwest region

  • Chilliwack Community Services, Chilliwack: $397,991 over two years, 30 participants
    • The Fraser Valley Business Certificate program has a focus on Indigenous peoples. Participants can receive eight certifications as they earn their business skills certificate. Included are courses on parenting and personal development, Indigenous cultural components, work experience and job placements.
  • DIVERSEcity Community Resources Society, Surrey: $851,650 over two years, 68 participants
    • The Hope, Empowerment, Adaptability and Learning (HEAL) for Work program is tailored to women who are new to Canada. It offers language supports (primarily in Punjabi and Arabic), Kaizen training and work experience in the manufacturing and horticulture industries. Where possible, participants are placed in jobs where they are able to use their first language.
  • The John Howard Society of British Columbia, Allouette Correctional Centre, Maple Ridge: $327,233 over two years, 50 participants
    • The ACES – Survivors Employment Training program provides incarcerated women about to re-enter society with certification training and Indigenous cultural supports, as well as work experience for the hospitality, construction and retail industries. Training begins within the correctional facility prior to release.
  • Kiwassa Neighbourhood Services Association, Vancouver: $924,371 over two years, 94 participants
    • The EMPOW3R program provides participants with computer skills training, job shadowing/work experience, Indigenous cultural components, disability and language supports.
  • Sources Community Resource Society, Surrey: $883,539 over two years, 99 participants
    • The Empowered for Employment program is targeted to women and provides occupational and short-term certificate training, practicum placements and direct marketing of participants to employers.
  • Vancouver Coastal Health Authority, Vancouver: $627,998 over two years, 96 participants
    • The Skills for Wellness & Work program is targeted to those suffering from PTSD and includes computer skills training and short-term certification. Participants receive support from the internal occupational and clinical therapist, job developer and peer support worker.
  • Young Women’s Christian Association, Coquitlam and Burnaby: $599,856 over two years, 105 participants
    • The Survive to Thrive program provides participants with skills training in the customer service industry, work experience, mentorship, legal support, Indigenous cultural components and a six-month access to fitness centres.

North Coast and Nechako regions

  • Hecate Strait Employment Development Society, Prince Rupert, Massett, Queen Charlotte: $425,729 over two years, 50 participants
    • The Gear Up program prepares women for careers in the transportation industry (commercial driving, administration and maintenance). Participants receive Indigenous cultural supports, short-term certificates and work experience.

Northeast region

  • Dawson Creek Catholic Social Services Society, Dawson Creek: $528,400 over two years, 144 participants.
    • The Skills Training for Survivors of Violence and/or Abuse program is targeted to women and Indigenous peoples. It has four training pathways: industrial, customer service/hospitality, general office and general computer proficiency. It includes Indigenous cultural components, short-term occupational certifications, professional driver training and work experience.

Thompson-Okanagan region

  • Open Door Social Services Society, Kamloops: $762,223 over two years, 120 participants
    • The Jobs in Demand program is targeted to those with disabilities and includes short-term certificate and on-the-job training with job placements targeted to the warehousing, social services, hospitality and tourism industries. There are opportunities for volunteering and for paid work experience. Legal advice, addiction services, Indigenous cultural components and disability supports are available.

Vancouver Island/Coast region

  • Bridges for Women Society, Victoria, Langford: $1,144,713 over two years, 200 participants
    • The Bridges Trauma Informed Healing and Employment Program is targeted to women and Indigenous peoples. It provides upgrading in math, English and computer literacy. It offers Indigenous cultural components, short-term certificate training and opportunities for volunteering.
  • INEO Employment Counselling Inc., Port Alberni: $237,421 over two years, 26 participants
    • Outstanding Women Learning and Leading prepares women for careers in health care, hospitality, trades or entrepreneurship. It offers Indigenous cultural components, short-term certificate training and work experience.

This is from BC Govt website go to the link here

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