RYSA suffers from funding cuts

The youth service lost $300,000, causing four staffers to be let go

A number of employment counselors at Richmond Youth Service Agency (RYSA) are now looking for work themselves.

RYSA has had $300,000 of its budget cut as the provincial government amalgamates employment services throughout B.C.

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The funding for our Connections Youth Resource Centre has been transferred to a new government programs Employment Service Centres (ESC), which is not part of RYSA, said Pam Khinda, RYSA manager of youth programs.

So instead of having separate employment centres for youth, immigrants, the disabled, Aboriginal and women fleeing violence, it is now all under one new umbrella.

A centralized resource may provide a greater selection of job listings, but it cant tailor its services to the unique needs of different client groups, added Khinda.

Our youth told us they rather come to us because its specific to their unique needs and because they dont like the idea of one huge one-stop shop, she said.

As of Monday, the Employment Program of BC replaced four provincially-funded employment programs and six programs funded under the Canada-BC Labour Market Development Agreement with centralized centres at key geographical locations.

According to its website (http://www.workbc.ca/workbccentres/welcome.htm), the purpose of the centres is to support British Columbians in getting a job as quickly as possible.

Since 2008, Connections Youth Resource Centre has provided local youth, between the ages of 15 to 30, with free services and programs to help them find employment.

All of that is gone, she said. Im devastated, really, because it was a shock to find out we werent going to be part of ESC... As a direct result of this change, we have had to layoff four staff members.

However, RYSA will continue to serve unemployed Richmond/South Delta residents through the Job Options BC- Richmond/Ladner Program.

This program offers in-class employability skills and short-term training, job placement support and training allowance to program participants, said Khinda.

She went on to add: RYSA we will keep on offering all our other services through Richmond Youth Centre, Pathway Aboriginal Centre, and Richmond School Program that include Generations Home Work Clubs for local elementary school children, Rogers Connections Program for local high school students, Stay in School Awards Program, U-Connect program for high school and university students, drop-in Resource Centre for Aboriginal children, youth and families and more.

Meanwhile, she wants to thank the community for its generous support throughout the years.

Our clients made this place such a success, she added. Weve helped almost 1,500 people find work, directly or indirectly, through our case managers.

Youth can now access ESC, which is located at 3631 No. 3 Rd.

For more information about RYSA, visit www.rysa.bc.ca or call Khinda at 604-271-7600.

David Kwongs Connections Youth Resource Centre story

Even though I was born in Canada, I was raised and educated in Hong Kong. I recently moved back to Canada and started to look for work.

My job search was going nowhere and I was feeling increasingly frustrated when a friend recommended that I visit Connection Youth Resource Centre. I was pleasantly surprised by the welcoming environment, tons of resources and highly knowledgeable staff.

At the centre, I was immediately connected to a case manager who helped me identify my employment challenges and referred me to a job search program.

Attending the job search program turned out to be very beneficial, as it helped me understand effective ways to uncover the hidden job market and make valuable networking connections. I was then introduced to a job placement specialist at the centre who, not only gave me a number of job leads, but also took me to interviews, as I did not have the needed transportation support.

Within few weeks of one-to-one placement support, I was offered a great opportunity as a president consultant for a local online company starting at $18/hr.

I owe my success to the strong support and due diligence of connections staff and am thankful that programs like connections are out there to help people like me.

2008-12 Statistics

(Courtesy of RYSA)

- Visits to the Centre: 17, 000

- One to One Case Management Support: 1600+

- Clients employed with the direct/non direct support of connections staff: 1450+

- Outreach Workshops Total: 400+

- Workshop Participants: 2200+

- Total Ministry contribution for Connections Youth Resource Centre for the duration of 2008-2012: $1, 268, 891

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