Program to help older workers find employment

A new program is coming to Invermere that aims to help workers over the age of 50 learn new skills and possibly start their own business.

On April 18, the Targeted Initiative for Older Workers Program will be coming to the District of Invermere. The 10-week program, which first began in early 2008 in the East Kootenay, will have a classroom period spanning from April 18 to June 9, followed by a job search and wage subsidy period from June 13-24.

The program will be held at the College of the Rockies (COTR). The program provides training to individuals between the ages of 50 to 64 who are looking at re-entering the workforce or are seeking self-employment. Since the program’s start in 2008, the Targeted Initiative for Older Workers Program has provided training to more than eighty participants who are now either employed (full or part-time) or self-employed. Individuals who are eligible to participate are residents of the Columbia Valley, between the ages of 50-64 (with priority given to workers age 55-64), unemployed and legally entitled to work in Canada, employable (including self-employment), and available to attend the program. Participants cannot be receiving EI benefits, but can be EI reachbacks.

“The program examines the skill bank of older workers who don’t realize their own values,” said Sharon Wass, program co-ordinator. “We don’t think of skills in terms of hobbies, home life, clubs and more than just our main jobs.”

Participants in the program will receive training to boost their skills and confidence, a weekly allowance (travel supplement if required), one-on-one employment counselling and support, COTR Workplace Success Training, Personal Growth Training and MS Office certificates, and funding for individualized training.

Instructors at COTR will be providing the majority of the skills training, including computer training. “People love the new friends they make, the re-examination of values, employment, and starting over with confidence,” said Wass. For more information about the program, call Wass at 250-342-9649