Glenna Schaillee, special programs officer for St. Lawrence College’s Centre for Training and Business Development attended the April 3rd South Dundas council meeting where chief administrative officer Stephen McDonald recommended that council approve township support for a Morrisburg Blossoms program.
The program, expected to run from May 29th to August 17th, was originally introduced to township staff when, in March, Schaillee approached them about the 12-week employment program designed for people aged 15 to 30 who need to gain work experience and training.
“St. Lawrence College, through the Centre for Training and Business Development, has been successful in obtaining funding for an employment preparation and training program,” reported McDonald.
“Participants will graduate with well rounded knowledge, practical skills and certifications in WHMIS, First Aid/CPR/AED, and safety training.”
There will be six weeks of in-class training and six weeks of placement in the “work world.” Participants will be paid $10.25 per hour for the 12 weeks.
In addition, Schaillee reported that the 12 people chosen will also receive work boots and tool kits, free of charge.
Participants will be expected to commit to 30 hours per week for the 12 weeks. South Dundas township is currently creating a list of work projects for participants to complete during the work portion of the program.
Some items from the list presented to council include:
• “Iroquois Marina – repair cement walkway east of boathouses
• Morrisburg outdoor rink
• Paint and install shelves at Iroquois visitor centre
• Earl Baker Park – general gardening, edging, pruning, painting picnic tables”
McDonald told council that “we would basically provide the projects, budgets for materials and supervision by our own staff.”
Deputy-mayor Jim Locke supported the program saying, “it’s an opportunity to get some beautification projects done that might not otherwise happen.”
“I agree,” said councillor Evonne Delegarde, “it’s a great project.”
Councillor Archie Mellan added, “it’s a great opportunity for people to get some experience and training.”
With unanimous support from council, mayor Steven Byvelds concluded the discussion saying, “we do appreciate the opportunity to participate. It will not only provide opportunity to get some stuff done in South Dundas, but also provide opportunity for employment.”
To apply for the program, interested people must first pass an eligibility test by phoning Lauralee Barkley, a St. Lawrence College representative, at 613-933-6080, extension 3176. For starters, the program is set up for people who are “out of school, out of work, and not receiving EI.”
During the phone consultation, Barkley will ask for some personal information, including name, contact information and social insurance number.
According to Schaillee, the information collected will then be “sent into Service Canada to see if they’re eligible.”
For those who are eligible, there will be a one-page application to fill out. The successful applicants will then go for an interview following which, if chosen, they will meet with Job Zone to complete the process.
True to its name, the Morrisburg Blossoms program training will take place in Morrisburg, while, as McDonald pointed out, the work portion “will be in Iroquois and Morrisburg.”
The program, however, has “no geographical boundaries” in terms of who can apply.
In addition, Schaillee reported that there may be options available for those people who need extra assistance with transportation or daycare costs.
Organizers will continue to take applications until May 18th or until all twelve spaces are filled. With limited spaces, Schaillee reminded that this is a first come, first serve situation.
The Blossoms program has previously run in the Sharbot Lake area as well as in the Winchester and Chesterville areas. In each situation, the program met with great success.