“Y” taking over employment services

The YMCA-YWCA of the Okanagan was the successful applicant of a request for proposal for service in the Lower Similkameen


Robert Bryce, manager for the Employment Program of British Columbia’s (EPBM) Penticton catchment area, says the YMCA-YWCA of the Okanagan is looking forward to the opportunity to deliver the Employment Program of British Columbia in the Similkameen.

As a registered charity, the “Y’s” raison d’etre is to strengthen the foundations of community by providing client-based programs and services.

The YMCA-YWCA of the Okanagan was the successful applicant of a request for proposal (RFP)  process which had the community service organization compete to deliver the employment program in the area.

“We believe our ‘Y’ was selected as the successful proponent because of our client centered approach and value added services that will have a positive impact in Keremeos,” said Bryce.

The “Y” is contractually obligated to flow through 25 per cent of the work to service delivery partnerships. The “Y” has chosen to work with On Your Mark Employment Services Inc. (OYM) to deliver self serve, mobile and an  itinerant suite of employment services to the community of Keremeos and surrounding rural populations.

The intention is to have self-serve employment services available in the community of Keremeos.

All self-serve clients in the Similkameen  will have access to a self-serve tool kit. The self-serve tool kit will be made available at popular locations in sub-division communities such as local coffee shops, libraries, Similkameen Country and health centres.

The tool kit will contain information explaining the employment services offered at the Princeton and Penticton Employment Service Centres. It will encourage clients to connect online on the “Y’s” EPBC website to learn more and access free job search resources. The tool kit will also contain the toll free phone number to connect with the “Y” where they can learn more about employment services in their area and how to get connected.

For example, if the client is located near Keremeos and they wish to access employment services , the “Y” will put the client in touch with OYM Services who will then arrange to meet with the client in Keremeos to determine case management eligibility based on provincial criteria. The tool kit will also include resources to get the client started with their job search, with such things as resume and cover letter tips, networking strategies and common interview strategies. The kit will also contain a list of common job search websites. In addition, there will be information on local community resources to assist clients in addressing barriers to employment.

With the self-serve tool kit, the “Y” feels that it will be able to reach and connect with rural and remote clients throughout the Similkameen.

Additionally, the “Y” will provide case management and case managed employment services to eligible clients  through the use of On Your Mark Employment Services Inc. OYM will deliver employment services to rural and remote clients including many of the specialized populations through itinerant, mobile, outreach, web access and telephone in the sub-division communities of Keremeos, Alexis, Ashnola, Blind Creek, Okanagan-Similkameen “G”, and Lower Similkameen.

OYM will access public spaces such as the Keremeos Chamber of Commerce, Keremeos Public Library and Lower Similkameen Indian Band office to deliver services on an as needed case by case basis.

The Provincial Employment Program begins on April 2. WorkZone will be closing their Keremeos office on March 30, and present staff will be laid off.

On Your Mark has been guided by Carolyn Kidd, who has been providing employment services since 1992. Carolyn’s team is not new to delivering employment services in the Keremeos area, as she currently delivers employment services under the British Columbia Employment Program to participants in this region.

The “Y” plans a very robust EPBC website where employers will be able to post online job ads throughout the Penticton area. They understands that the community of Keremeos is embedded in the agricultural industry and employers often struggle with labour shortages during the growing season.

The “Y” has been delivering employment services in the central Okanagan for the past 15 years and has established networks with the BC Fruit Growers Association to help strengthen linkages between job opportunities and job seekers. The “Y” will also be working with local organizations to provide publicly accessible job boards that will be updated on a regular basis to link job seekers to job opportunities in the Keremeos area. The “y’s” plan is  to deliver employment services that meet the needs of the clients and communities it serves. In order to accomplish this, they recognize the need for a program service delivery model that remains flexible to meet the ever changing demands of the local labour markets throughout the Penticton area.