New management for the Employment Services Centre

By David F. Rooney

The contract to operate the Revelstoke Employment Services Centre is going to a the Canadian subsidiary of an American firm — WCG International HR Solutions of Victoria.

The RESC contract had been held by Okanagan College but that institution did not bid on it when, last March, the provincial Ministry of Social Development issued a Request for Proposals for the delivery of employment programs in 73 parts of British Columbia. WCG was the successful bidder for contracts in Smithers and Revelstoke.

“The province was signalling that it intended to broaden the array of services provided,” Allan Coyle, the college’s director of public affairs, said Wednesday.

The college, which has managed the employment services program since 2009, had emphasized skills training as well as offering a job search service. The province wants to see an actual job placement program in place — something the college did not think was in its mandate.

“We thought this would be taking the college well beyond our core business — education and skills training,” he said, adding that the college has been approached by WCG about continuing to offer an educational component to the employment services centre’s programs.

Charlotte Kushner, the college’s acting vice-president of student administration, said the college does not yet know exactly what WCG will be seeking from the college.

Employment Services Manager Cathie Thacker said she did not expect the change will affect the delivery of programs even though the centre’s five employees will be formally laid off at the end of March. They will be able to reapply to work on the local program when the new contract takes effect on April 2, 2012.

According to its website, WCG International has delivered “over $300 million in accountable, transparent and performance-based job placement programs across Canada.” It also said its results speak for themselves:

  • “our programs have saved businesses over $143 millionsince 1995 (using cost-per-hire numbers provided by The Conference Board of Canada);
  • we helped reduce the number of British Columbians on income assistance by over 230,000 between 1995 and 2006, saving taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars;
  • we have worked with over 65,000 businesses to meet their HR needs in more than 300 Canadian communities resulting in over 70,000 job placements with an average yearly salary of $22,000;
  • we have achieved one of the best retention rates in North America, with 80% of participants retaining at least 12 months of full-time, unsubsidized employment. In fact, many of our clients have been back at work for 5 – 10 years; and
  • we have facilitated over 18,000 skill-building workshops for persons with disabilities. These clients have attained more than 2,600 job placements.”