By Kelsey Verboom
The once-precarious fate of the Columbia Valley’s employment centre is now secure, and the doors of the re-imagined facility are officially open to the public.
Following province-wide changes to employment services in B.C., it has been unclear during the past two years whether or not the Invermere-based employment centre would stay open, or if residents would have to travel to Cranbrook to access the same services.
Although Steele O’Neil, the firm that previously ran the employment centre, is no longer at the helm, the job-seeker’s facility will remain open under provincial government guidance as a satellite office to the main Cranbrook location.
A fresh-faced version of the downtown Invermere centre was officially opened on June 12th, where Pat Cope, Executive Director of the Family Resource Centre spoke of the facility’s importance to local residents.
“Geography alone makes it important that we have employment services available,” she said. “People already struggle to access other centralized services in Cranbrook.
“Also, often times when people are unemployed, it means a lack of money, which makes it more difficult for people to travel places to try to find work.”
The revived centre, which is in the same location it has always been (above the Invermere Thrift Store, 1313-7th Ave.), will service about 50 employment hunters per month. At the office, people can access computers, advice and coaching, job postings, and be referred to services that might not be available locally.
“It’s so important we’re here,” said Jim Jenkinson, an advisor at the employment centre. “I was out shopping recently and saw four people who had been in the centre, and were now working. It was just fantastic to see.”
The new Columbia Valley Employment Services Centre is a partnership between the B.C. government program Work BC, the Canadian Mental Health Association, the local Family Resource Centre,, the Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy, the Ktunaxa Nation Employment Services, and Community Futures BC.
To access or post job listings specific to the East Kootenay area, go to www.ekemployment.org. Visit the employment services centre for help with the website or finding a job. Phone: 250-341-6889.