Wednesday April 23, 2014



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Derek Bedry Photo

The Fort St. John Women's Resource Society is offering free employment skills workshops starting next week. Back: Society executive director Emily Goodman, outreach coordinator Sarah Palmer. Far left: Visitor Shelley Rogge. Front: Visitor Karen Ross.

Women in Fort St. John will get the chance to boost their employment skills with free workshops next week.

The Fort St. John Women’s Resource Society wants to “foster self-sufficiency and economic independence” in unemployed and underemployed women by teaching interview skills, resume writing, salary negotiation and more, in partnership with the Minerva Foundation for B.C. Women.

“We just see with our clients that there is a need for this sort of thing,” said Sarah Palmer, Women’s Society Outreach coordinator.  She said the society wants “to present the idea that there are opportunities out there for women. With kids at home there’s this idea that it’s tough to make that transition back to employment, so we think by addressing these topics we can move towards positive change.” Those topics also include financial literacy and time management. Palmer said the workshop content is about job skills, but the focus is really on personal growth.

“We know from census data and other sources that women’s income is dramatically less than a male’s in Fort St. John. Their earning potential is less and we know there’s a lot of opportunity to earn a high wage, but a lot of those jobs require a lot of time away from home,” said Emily Goodman, executive director of the Fort St. John Women’s Resource Society. “So if you do have a family and are the main caregiver, or the sole caregiver in a single parent home, types of occupations aren’t necessarily accessible and what is left doesn’t necessarily compete with the level of income that is enjoyed by the [oil & gas] community.” She added for women who have been out of the workforce for a while or never entered it and feel they have underutilized potential, “this workshop is about unleashing that potential.”

Participants will take a Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, a questionnaire that determines possible careers by assessing the way people make decisions and view the world. They will also attend discussions with community members brought in as experts on certain job skills.

Palmer said the two-week workshop will be part of a series called Women Connect that will feature ongoing opportunities for women to develop their skills and confidence.

According to its website, The Minerva Foundation helps women develop leadership capacity and provides scholarships to women in need. Helping Women Work has previously run in Fort Nelson.

Helping Women Work begins Tuesday, January 22. The last day to enrol is this Friday, Jan. 18.


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