NELSON – New Democrat MLA Brittny Anderson says youth in Ktunaxa traditional territories across the Kootenays will be able to gain skills in in-demand fields thanks to BladeRunners, an employment and skills training program that provides wrap-around supports for young people.
“For young people who haven’t had the same opportunities as many others, entering the workforce can be a huge challenge,” said MLA Anderson. “Since its inception, the BladeRunners program and its community partners have helped youth surmount those challenges, turn jobs into careers, and take control of their futures. I’m excited to see that work continuing in the Kootenays, and look forward to seeing the successes that come from it.”
The Ktunaxa Nation Council has received $675,000 in funding over three years to offer this program to youth in Aqam, Lower Kootenay, Akisqnuk, Tobacco Plains, Cranbrook, Fernie, Invermere, Creston, Nelson, Sparwood, and Elkford who face barriers to employment.
MLA Anderson says the BladeRunners program empowers youth aged 15-30 to take control of their futures, gain valuable skills, and find new career opportunities in areas such as construction, culinary arts, health care, retail, hospitality, and office administration. In addition to job skills and work experience placements, youth build life skills and receive mentorship and other supports to help them participate and succeed in the program.
The New Democrat government is allocating $18.6M over three years to support the BladeRunners program being delivered by 11 organizations serving 50 communities across B.C. More than 4,000 young people will benefit from this funding, 65-70% of whom are expected to be Indigenous. The BladeRunners program began as a pilot project in 1994 to address the needs of at-risk youth on Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.
BladeRunners programs are available now in communities across all regions of the province. If you are a youth between the ages of 15 and 30 who is facing multiple barriers to employment, see the BladeRunners website: https://www.workbc.ca/employment-services/labour-market-programs/bladerunners-program.aspx