Employment program helps those looking for a leg up

A 17-week employment program in Ponoka for young adults is providing important jobs skills and training.

With help from an employment program in Ponoka called ReBrand

With help from an employment program in Ponoka called ReBrand

A 17-week employment program in Ponoka for young adults is providing important jobs skills and training.

An open house was held Thursday, March 12 in Ponoka to celebrate the accomplishments of participants in the program and to introduce others to it.

Called ReBrand, the program is provided by the McBride Group, with financial support from the Canadian government and comes in two parts, explained program co-ordinator Lisa Hollingsworth. “A lot of people just need that first step.”

The first part includes 10 weeks of group training and sessions for a maximum of 10 people, Hollingsworth explained. The purpose of the ReBrand program is to give participants some hands on training that will benefit them for years to come.

The group based employment skills programming covers five different areas:

● Personal development: self-awareness, self-esteem, communication, problem solving and decision making, anger management, conflict resolution, assertiveness, stress management, time management and money management.

● Career path management: job search techniques, career planning and goal setting, resumes, cover letters, portfolios and interviews.

Educational/vocational planning

● Labour standards and human rights

● Certification for: St. John Ambulance First Aid – Level C CPR and AED, Alberta Health Services Home Study in Food Safety, WHMIS (Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System), Money Mentors, Computer Literacy and True Colors.

One of the benefits of the program is participants are paid minimum wage to learn valuable skills such as stress and time management as well as communication skills, said Hollingsworth. Once the 10 weeks are complete the next step is to get some on-the-job training. If they complete the full 17-week course, participants are eligible for a monetary bonus.

The entire program is intended to get people into a job and to help them stay there. For one participant, the ReBrand program was a dream come true. Cassy Smith heard there was an opportunity to try the program out and she jumped at the chance.

Smith says she used to be a cook but had been out of work for almost a year. With help from the program she has secured a job cooking at the Sunrise Village in Ponoka. Among the training she had was a food safety course, first-aid and WHMIS training.

“I feel blessed that I got a job out of it for what I was trying to get,” said Smith.

She says the group sessions were quite helpful for her and if asked if she would do the course again, Smith immediately said “yes.”

“It will help me succeed and go further and accomplish my goals in the future,” explained Smith.

Hollingsworth says planners will start recruiting for their next class and she is excited to see a new group of students.

There are some requirements for participants: they cannot be on unemployment insurance or be eligible for it, have to be out of school and they should be ready and willing to work. Hollingsworth says there is also wage subsidy for employers who hire individuals for work training.

While this new group of students had some challenges along the way, Hollingsworth was most impressed with their dedication to completing the program. She said programmers could see changes and improvements in students every day of the course.

For more information on the ReBrand program contact Hollingsworth at 403-790-5000.