By Amy Woolvett
THE COAST GUARD
“These are the faces of our future,” said Mariette Thibault-Poole, manager of the Career Resource Centre for Shelburne Campus at the graduation of the Targeted Initiative for Older Workers.
The ten graduates, fifty years of age or older are some of the people the Canadian government is targeting to fill the gap in employment.
Ottawa has spent $220-million toward programs to encourage older workers to join the workforce and Shelburne’s program has exceeded this task and has created a successful program to help reintroduce older workers to the workforce.
The program provides support to unemployed older workers in communities affected by significant downsizing or closures through programming aimed at reintegrating individuals into employment.
The course has proven to be highly successful in both meeting a demand in the workforce as well as students obtaining employment.
Of the ten participants enrolled in Jan 2010, six have secured employment upon completion of the program, two are pursuing self-employment initiatives and only one is currently seeking employment and all of the previous years graduates were able to secure employment before or after the program completed.
Cathy Bower, is a fifty year old woman who had been both out of the job force for over a year and moving back to the county after a twenty year absence.
“I went in looking for official computer training,” said Bower. “But I came out with so much more than that.”
The 18-week program that included 14 weeks of classroom learning and four weeks of work experience taught Bower something new every day.
Part of the course was the development of a portfolio that would tie together all of a workers skills, training, education and experience.
“You can say what you want in an interview but can you back it up,” said Bower.
She said that the whole experience was positive on many levels including reconnecting to her community and her cohorts in the classroom.
“There were ten participants and ten reasons why they were not working,” said Bower.
The Canadian government predicts that there will be more jobs than people in the near future and that programs like the one in Shelburne will fill a need both for the employer and the employee.