New Maple Ridge employment centre opens

WorkBC office to serve 2,800 unemployed in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows.

Job seekers in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows have a new resource to help them in their search for employment with the opening of the new WorkBC office in downtown Maple Ridge on Thursday.

Operated by Douglas College, the WorkBC Employment Services Centre offers access to all government employment services and programs, making it a one-stop-shop for the 2,800 unemployed people in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows.

“Everyone … can now access all services at one point of entry, instead of having to go to four or five agencies,” said executive director Bob McConkey.

The WorkBC employment centre will provide job seekers with access to their job search database, employment and education counseling, help with resumés, income assistance.

The office combines 10 employment programs under a single roof, thanks to a partnership with Bowman Employment Services, Buxton Consulting, William Weselowski and Associates, and Immigrant Services Society of B.C.

“When people come in they are going to be made to feel comfortable,” said coordinator Karoline deVries.

The office also helps young job seekers get specialized training so they can enter the workforce, many of which are free through various programs.

“Things like a forklift certification, first aid, [Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System],” said deVries. “There’s many training programs available, and we would help them access that.”

The employment centre has also partnered with local employers, like Thrifty Foods, Canadian Tire, Haney Builders, Save on Foods, and Staples to help them fill their staffing needs.

DeVries said the centre has a lot to offer employers, as well as job seekers, including wage subsidies to cover the costs of training employees with little experience or skills.

“Depending on the training the employer provides and the employee’s skill set … there’s a subsidy that can go to the employer, and we can help them access that,” she said.

The WorkBC Employment Services Centre is located at No. 170 – 22470 Dewdney Truck Road, next to Memorial Peace Park in downtown Maple Ridge.