Employment and training opportunities for local residents
The Great Beginnings Program supports job-creating projects. This includes initiatives that hire, train, and provide meaningful skills-building opportunities for community members, including
- Individuals who suffer from mental health and addictions.
- New female immigrants.
- Local homeless / under-housed population.
Providing Access to Employment Opportunities
The Great Beginnings Program appreciates the unique barriers to employment individuals may experience. For that reason, some employment opportunities must be easy to access, or low-threshold. Some employees may have the ability to work one or two hours per week on a casual basis, while others may be able to successfully be employed through one initiative on a long-term and full-time basis.
Ensuring Sustainable, Long Term Employment Opportunities
The Great Beginnings Program team works to ensure the long-term sustainability of supported projects and initiatives. The Clean Streets Project, for example, which employs individuals affiliated with Coast Mental Health Foundation and United We Can, has been in operation since 2008 and will continue at least to the end of 2012. Street micro-cleaners have been employed during this entire period, while others have taken advantage of shorter term opportunities. Where projects are not long-term, employees and volunteers receive valuable training, skills-acquisition and business acumen. The investment in skills, confidence and opportunity is a long-term positive by-product of the Great Beginnings Program that individuals can use to obtain future employment.
Pilot Programs and Business Plan Development
In some cases, Great Beginnings support has contributed to pilot programs and business plan development for successful long-term businesses that offer full-time employment such as:
- Mission Possible Graffiti Removal project.
- Sew a Legacy: Olympic / Paralympic Banner - Sports Bag Production Project.
Where projects are not long-term, employees and volunteers receive valuable training, skills-acquisition and business acumen. The investment in skills, confidence and opportunity is a long-term positive by-product of the Great Beginnings Program that individuals can use to obtain future employment.
Great Beginnings Program employment and skills-building opportunities include:
Hiring and training of local artists
- For arts, culture and festival projects: Princess Avenue Interpretive Walk, After Homelessness, Heart of the City Festivals.
Volunteer opportunities for local homeless and under-housed
- First United Church Short-Term Cart and Belongings Facility and the annual HomeGround event.
Honorariums and skills training provided to members of community service organizations
- VANDU for participation in the Toilet Monitoring and DTES Pedestrian Safety projects.
Sewing employment for women
- Recent immigrants and refugees, single mothers who cannot obtain typical full- or part-time employment, local Aboriginal women, local Afghani women, and women who suffer from mental or physical disabilities.
Low-threshold street micro-cleaning employment
- Members of Coast Mental Health Foundation and United We Can. Both are not-for-profits that accommodate individuals with mental health and addictions and those in need of low-threshold employment opportunities.
Graffiti removal and neighbourhood clean up work opportunities
- Mission Possible members (a local faith-based not-for-profit).
Opportunities to participate in writing workshops and publish writing
- Megaphone Magazine Writing Workshop participants work is commissioned and published in local publications.
Commissioned totem carving talents
- Local aboriginal artists for the Blood Alley Greening and Oppenheimer House Post projects.