Project Rise: New employability program launches

Project Rise

We are excited to announce that Project Rise has launched on Monday, April 4th, with its first cohort of 6 client participants!

Project Rise will offer training and work placements for people who have experienced homelessness – breaking down barriers to employment and community connection, and building confidence for the future.

Project Rise is a new program of Island Crisis Care Society (ICCS) aimed to deliver pre-employment and employment skills training and work placement opportunities to people who have experienced homelessness, but are now ready to re-integrate fully into independence and community life.

Many ICCS clients face barriers to employment and re-connection to the community, based on adversity in their past, and the stigma of their present. This new program aims to fill that gap, supporting clients who have moved towards independence in housing but are unable to access the employment market take the next steps forward to regain the rhythm of community life.

Why is ICCS creating a new project?

Island Crisis Care Society is constantly seeking out opportunities to support client wellbeing and recovery and reduce the factors that cause homelessness in Nanaimo and Parksville. However, the need for innovative programming to address these issues in the immediate and longer term continues. Consistently, it is clear that those we support need a chance to find meaningful connection within the community; to move in from the margins of society and find their own purpose, passion and connections – and learn the skills necessary to do so.

While our current programs strive to support clients where they are, the leaps from homelessness to supported housing to independent community life are huge. Unless we equip clients with real skills they can use to find a way back to community, to navigate through the job market and to fill gaps in knowledge and experience from how to balance a cheque book to how to communicate effectively with others, this leap is often too large. Once people are equipped with essential skills, however, hope is born. This is the intent of Project Rise.

What will happen

Project Rise will work with participants for a total of 12 weeks – first with one month of pre-employment training, and then through 8 week practical work placements, in partnership with local businesses, where clients can gain the skills and confidence to move forward towards independence.

Program participants will be identified and referred through existing ICCS programs and partner organizations, but actual participation in Project Rise is completely voluntary – and will rely on that individual initiative for success. Each training and placement program will be tailored to individual capacities and potential trajectory, with unique case plans for each participating client to ensure optimal self-direction – and success.

The program is currently being supported by multiple donors including the United Way, The Government of BC’s Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction, INEO Employment services, and several individual donors. Several local business and agencies have also stepped forward to offer work placements for program participants.

ICCS has been working in the support sector in Nanaimo and Oceanside on Vancouver Island for 32 years, delivering housing and outreach programs for people who have experienced homelessness or precarious housing, and often concurrent substance use and mental health challenges. The current spectrum of ICCS programming includes 12 programs across 7 sites addressing the needs of over 250 individuals a day who have experienced or are at risk of homelessness.

Media Contact:

Elspeth Erickson

Development and Communications Manager, ICCS