NDP MLAs say BladeRunners will prepare at-risk youth for work in Richmond

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RICHMOND – New Democrat MLAs Kelly Greene, Henry Yao and Aman Singh say at-risk youth in Richmond 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.

“Young people in Richmond have enormous potential, and with BladeRunners, they will be able to break down barriers and reach their goals,” said Kelly Greene, MLA for Richmond-Steveston. “By providing youth with training, opportunities, and mentorship, we are setting them up for success in work and in life.”

Aboriginal Community Career Employment Services Society (ACCESS) has received $10,523,551 in funding over three years to offer this program to youth who face barriers to employment in 14 communities across B.C., including Richmond.

“BladeRunners has helped thousands of young people to gain valuable life and employment skills since the program began in 1994,” said Henry Yao, MLA for Richmond South Centre. “With this latest investment, more Richmond youth will get the skills they need to succeed and take part in our economic recovery.”

“The pandemic has been hardest on those who were already more vulnerable, including many young people,” said Aman Singh, MLA for Richmond-Queensborough. “BladeRunners will give an extra boost to youth who face barriers to employment, putting them on solid footing as our economy recovers.”

The MLAs say 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.