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B.C. doubles grants for new technology jobs, eases degree rules

$29M program redirected to under-represented groups
B.C. Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon, MLA for Delta North. (James Smith/North Delta Reporter file photo)

The B.C. government is expanding its Innovator Skills Initiative program, doubling the amount offered to businesses to $10,000 to hire people from under-represented groups into technology jobs.

The program is being extended beyond traditional university degrees, when hiring co-op students for a minimum of four months in a technology-related field. It now includes people with recent industry-recognized certifications, “micro-credential” training, or experience in skills such as digital marketing, web design and e-commerce, B.C. Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon announced Monday.

Kahlon emphasized the redirection of the program to “equity-seeking groups” as the budget expands to $29 million, most through existing provincial agencies.

“Preference is given to candidates who self-identify as part of an under-represented group, such as Indigenous, Black, people of colour, women, people living with a visible or invisible disability, 2SLGBTQ+, neurodiverse (e.g., autistic), youth from care and others,” the ministry said in a statement Sept. 27. “Applicants who feel they are part of an under-represented community not included in this list are able to self-identify as under-represented.”

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To qualify, employers must be a technology business or non-profit operating in B.C. and hiring for a business or technology role, or a non-technology organization hiring for a technology role. B.C.-based post-secondary or local-regional authority hiring for a technology role.

“The employer must offer a high-quality, paid work experience that will prepare the person for long-term employment within their company or for another job at a different company,” the ministry says. Application can be made here.


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