MAPLE RIDGE – New Democrat MLAs say at-risk youth in the Maple Ridge area will be able to gain skills in in-demand fields thanks to BladeRunners, an employment and skills training program that provides wrap-around supports for young people.
“Our government knows that helping people overcome barriers and creating opportunities for at-risk and unemployed youth to succeed benefits everybody,” said Bob D’Eith, MLA for Maple Ridge-Mission. “The people who run programs like BladeRunners do such great work in our communities, and this funding will help ensure it can continue over the next three years.”
The John Hawrd Society of the Pacific Region facilitates BladeRunners programming that assists incarcerated young adults who are transitioning back into the community. The organization has received over $1.3 million in funding over three years to offer this program, including to youth incarcerated at the Fraser Regional Correction Center in Maple Ridge who face barriers to employment.
“After the challenges caused by the pandemic, it’s more important than ever that we support youth. This multi-year investment will mean Bladerunners can continue helping at-risk and unemployed youth transition to a more stable life, offering tools that will help them pursue their passions and a healthy and happy future,” said Lisa Beare, MLA for Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows.
MLAs D’Eith and Beare say the BladeRunners program empowers youth aged 15-30 to take control of their futures, gain valuable skills, and find new career opportunities in areas such as construction, culinary arts, health care, retail, hospitality, and office administration. In addition to job skills and work experience placements, youth build life skills and receive mentorship and other supports to help them participate and succeed in the program.
The New Democrat government is allocating $18.6M over three years to support the BladeRunners program being delivered by 11 organizations serving 50 communities across B.C. More than 4,000 young people will benefit from this funding, 65-70% of whom are expected to be Indigenous. The BladeRunners program began as a pilot project in 1994 to address the needs of at-risk youth on Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.
BladeRunners programs are available now in communities across all regions of the province. If you are a youth between the ages of 15 and 30 who is facing multiple barriers to employment, see the BladeRunners website: https://www.workbc.ca/employment-services/labour-market-programs/bladerunners-program.aspx