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PEERS program helps break barriers to employment

The Kootenay Career Development Society wants to help folks who are homeless or precariously housed find gainful employment through a program called PEERS.

“The program is much deeper, it is really a way to support our most vulnerable community members to find and succeed in economic inclusion,” says Malorie Moore, who is the service accessibility manager for the organization.

“We have several different programs that KCDS can offer a participant before they are ready to move forward with their career search, but the PEERS program was created due to the high demand of people coming to us through WorkBC,” says Jocelyn Carver, executive director with KCDS.

PEERS is a regional program which has seen 31 participants use services to help them get on track for a more sustainable future.

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“When participants go through an intake, we do get them to identify what are their major barriers to employment,” says Moore.

Some of those barriers have included housing, physical health, and reputation.

“Most of our participants said that building their reputation in a small town was very hard,” said Moore.

According to a presentation before Nelson city council, one of the major goals of participants was to gain employment through an increase in their reputation.

“We are not expecting everyone to make the same progress, where participants are at is where they are at,” says Moore. “The program is designed to take people where they are at and build on that foundation.”

The PEERS program not only helps with career and personal development, but they also offer many different options for financial support within the community.

“The program works. The proof is in the pudding,” says Carver.

Carver thanked Nelson Cares and Career Development Service for the ongoing support with the pilot program as it progresses for many years to come.

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