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May 19, 1999
(Human Resources and Employment)

The following statement was issued today by Julie Bettney, Minister of Human Resources and Employment. It was also read in the House of Assembly:

Single Parent Employment Support Program and 
Women Interested in Successful Employment

Through the Strategic Social Plan, government made a commitment to invest in the people of this province and to work with community organizations to help us better understand the needs of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. Today I would like to update members on two programs which demonstrate government's commitment to removing barriers to employment that may exist for individuals, particularly women.

The Single Parent Employment Support Program and Women Interested in Successful Employment are two initiatives aimed at helping individuals, particularly women, in their transition to employment. I would like to welcome members of both organizations, the Single Parent Association of Newfoundland, or SPAN, and Women Interested in Successful Employment, WISE, to the gallery today. They are joined by 20 women who are participating in the current WISE session.

The Single Parent Employment Support Program is a pilot program which helps single parents on income support obtain full time employment and work toward becoming financially independent. To date, 69 single parents have participated in four sessions. I am happy to announce that 34 participants are now working and three have left income support completely. Several participants are pursuing further training and 29 are actively job searching. Several of the participants who had found jobs have moved on to higher paying jobs. It is encouraging to note that some participants of this program had been out of the labour force and on income support for up to 12 years.

The fifth group of single parents began the program in April. Of this group of 18, five are working full time and one is working part time. In this year's budget, $500,000 was allotted to support the program and we anticipate that close to 120 single parents will participate in the pilot in 1999/2000. Thanks to the innovative partnership between Human Resources and Employment and SPAN, single parents are realizing their potential and are overcoming barriers to employment.

Women Interested in Successful Employment, or WISE, is a community-based organization that offers career exploration programs for women to help them re-enter the work force. In the 1999/2000 budget, government committed over $331,000 to WISE to offer programs that allow women to explore a variety of career and educational opportunities.

Between May 1998 and March 1999, 141 women participated in nine 12-week programs. Of this group, 56 are working and 33 are pursuing education and training programs such as: information technology, petroleum engineering, and many others. An additional 33 are conducting active job searches. Forty-seven more women started the program this month.

This news is very encouraging. The results show that with the proper supports, individuals are building self confidence and are overcoming barriers to employment. With more families working, children and adults will be better off financially and can live and grow in healthy environments.

I look forward to the continued success of these programs and I will continue to update the members on their progress.

1999 05 19                                 2:40 p.m.

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