WorkLink is celebrating 40 years of helping local residents and to mark that milestone they’re hosting a celebration in hopes of meeting even more community members while visiting with those they’ve helped along the way. And they’ve helped a lot of people along the way.
“WorkLink started with three employees in 1978 and now we have 40,” said Barbara McLean, community co-ordinator. “Throughout our history our focus has been on finding people employment. There’s just so many ways to do that.”
While contracted by Work B.C., WorkLink is not a government organization. It provides employment and pre-employment services for all members of the community.
A common misconception the organization is hoping to break is that WorkLink’s services are only for a specific demographic in the community. While not everyone qualifies for all of the services offered by WorkLink, there are some that are available to everyone, whether employed or not. Eligibility for other services has also been expanded.
“It’s quite a broad spectrum of services and it’s not just for entry level jobs … There’s so much to it,” McLean said, adding they have even seen clients with doctorates.
Some of the services offered include a resource centre, job search, career planning, case management and a number of programs and workshops.
“Everything we do is free,” said Jo Zlotnik, client services manager. “We try to help them to the next rung … It can be heartbreaking and exhilarating all in the same day – seeing people in their most vulnerable to them landing a high paying job, that’s a right fit.”
Finding a job that’s the right fit is key. As Greater Victoria is such an expensive place to live, McLean said they take a holistic approach to make sure clients are happy and their financial needs are being met.
WorkLink recently helped a local single mother in her early 30s. Josh McKenzie, a disabilities case manager, said the woman came to them looking to find a job that would also support her two children.
After doing some career exploration to determine what field would be a good fit as well as some work to identify her learning disability and how to manage it, they determined she would like to pursue a position as a medical office assistant. McKenzie was able to get her 10-month training program sponsored, as well as funding for daycare while she was in school. When she completed her training, she came back to WorkLink and they were able to find her a job within two months and get her first year of daycare covered.
“At one point she told me it’s more money than she’s made in her entire life,” McKenzie said. “It was a real success.”
WorkLink also helps residents get past any barriers that may be preventing them from landing the right job, whether that’s something as simple as writing a resume or helping them access funding for training or referrals for help with more complex underlying traumas.
Community members looking to learn more can meet the team next Thursday, July 12. The big 40th anniversary celebration gets underway from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. at the Jacklin Road office in Langford, 202-3179 Jacklin Rd. There will be lots of prizes, games, entertainment, face painting and a free barbecue lunch (11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.).
“We’ve seen the parents and then the kids and now the grandkids. The 40th is so important to us because we are apart of the community,” Zlotnik said.
For more details about the event or WorkLink’s services, call 250-478-9525 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.