BladeRunners will continue in Prince George, providing employment opportunities for at-risk youth.
The provincial government announced renewed funding for the widespread initiative. Several partner agencies will carry out the program, depending on which community it is in across the province. Thirty-four communities will have a BladeRunners office. Those in the local region include the Nechako-Lakes, Quesnel, Cariboo-Chilcotin, and others in the North.
In Prince George, the delivery of the BladeRunners program will be handled by the Prince George Nechako Aboriginal Employment and Training Association (PGNAETA). This group will also carry out BladeRunners in the Nechako-Lakes communities to the west.
"BladeRunners is an employment and skills training program that helps youth aged 15 to 30 take control of their futures and gain job and life skills in order to obtain sustainable employment," said Pat Bell, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour.
"The program has a high success rate: about 75 per cent of participants complete the training and gain employment. Approximately 1,200 youth will participate in 2013-14, about 70 per cent of whom are Aboriginal. Training options in areas such as construction, culinary arts, customer service and multi-media production are encouraging more youth to enter the program."
The cost of the program is shared between the B.C. government and the Canada-B.C. Labour Market Agreement. The BladeRunners program began in 1994. Since 2000-01, government has invested nearly $29 million in the BladeRunners program to help about 6,800 young people build their skills and find sustainable employment throughout the province.
Most youth who participate in BladeRunners are identified as at-risk young people, making their employment success an extra payback for their communities' and families' ongoing wellbeing.
"I would like to thank BladeRunners for what they have given me," said Peter Sinclair, who got his employment start thanks in part to the program. "I appreciate the influence they have had in my life. They have given me the opportunity to be a part of the positive influence that their organization is having in our community."