Putting the West Kootenay to work

The Kootenay Career Development Society supports employers and job seekers and helps people gain access to skills training.


KCDS is very much a part of economic development in the community. It offers support to both employers and employees and assists people in accessing training to enhance their skills.

For employers, KCDS offers a targeted wage subsidy program, which allows employers to train people on the job while receiving up to 50 per cent of that person's wages. KCDS also delivers the Job Creation Partnership, which offers paid work experience opportunities for the purposes of skill development arranged by a community organization and jointly funded by the federal and provincial governments and the sponsoring organization. KCDS also helps employers with recruiting and training employees as well as teaching employers how to write a great ad and how to interview to get the best person for the job.

For job seekers, KCDS offers many opportunities as well, including posting jobs on its website. The organization connects job seekers with employers and teaches resume writing, interview skills, how to choose a career, how to access training dollars to enhance skills and connects people with barriers to employment to the right resources in the community.

It's interesting to note, given the economy, that approximately 50 per cent of job seekers do not receive employment insurance or social assistance and are desperately looking for work. KCDS also provides counselling and training to enter the job market and collects all local, regional and provincial labour market information. This allows the organization to track what businesses are hiring or laying off, through following both the supply and demand side of the labour market.

Kootenay Business sat down with executive director of the KCDS Jan Wright to find out what she loves most about her job, her business philosophy and what her job at KCDS has taught her.

How long have you been working in this industry?

22 years.

What do you most enjoy about working in this field?

I most enjoy hearing from the employers, "I found the right person for the job—thank you!" I also love when the job seekers come in and tell us they found a job and it's made a huge difference in their own life as well as their family's lives. Those successes are what it's all about.

What’s your favourite part of the work day?

Working and planning with the staff. I work with a fabulous staff and it’s inspiring to see their accomplishments and contributions to job seekers and employers.

Do you have a business philosophy?

Yes. Our values as an organization are, number one, we have to walk our talk at every level. Our clients are who we serve, that's number one, and we want to make sure our staff have a great place to work. Values are the basis of everything we do. You can check out KCDS values at www.kcds.ca/about-us/vision-mission-values/

What are some things you’ve learned through this position?

I've learned to deeply appreciate people's courage. Over the years I have had the privilege to see the amazing, creative and entrepreneurial spirit of the small business owners in our communities.

What are you excited about moving forward?

I'm really excited about continuing to offer our services to employers and continuing to be able to attach people to training in order to work in this economy. A lot of people have great skills, but some are no longer relevant. I look forward to us being able to reflect realistically on what's going on in the economy.

What inspires you day to day?

What inspires me is knowing that the work we do contributes to the economic and social wellbeing of communities in a way that's authentic. That really inspires me.

Karen Kornelsen

Karen Kornelsen, a writer for Kootenay Business Magazine, has a degree in jounalism. She enjoys finding and reporting the news from the business community. View all of Karen Kornelsen’s articles

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