Posted on 13 June 2012 by Mathew White
After a couple months of smoothing things over, the Open Door Group officially welcomed Osoyoos residents this past Thursday with their first open house.
“The overall goal is to run the contract successfully and to support every client who walks through our door,” said Audrey Barren, program director. “Individuals need that and they will have support or some place to go to access employment resources. Sometimes you just can’t do it on your own.”
The Open Door Group, which has been a non-profit organization for more than 30 years, took over employment services in Osoyoos at the beginning of April after the provincial government decided to completely overhaul the way employment services were being handled across the province.
Basically what happened is, instead of having different services being offered through different organizations, the government thought it would be much more effective to have all services offered through one organization at one location, thus making things easier for members of the general public.
“The ministry devised a model that was all-inclusive employment services, they tendered requests for proposals and we submitted a proposal and were awarded the contract,” said Barren.
The Open Door Group’s contract is for five years, with the possibility of two, one-year extensions. And while the Open Door Group was awarded the contract, they will also work collaboratively with other organizations to ensure all needs are met.
Barren said when WorkZone closed down in April, all of their files were transferred over to the Open Door Group.
Although it has been somewhat of a challenge keeping the move as smooth as possible, there were no gaps in services, she said.
“All active clients that were involved with them were transitioned into this new program and then we just continued services with those clients,” said Barren.
For those who are unaware of the services being offered by the Open Door Group, Barren said, in a nutshell, there are basically two different components.
First, the group offers a “self-serve” component, which basically means it provides the tools necessary for individuals to come into the office and find work on their own or with the help of a resource assistant.
“Clients can come in, access the resource centre and look for work on their own, or with support,” said Barren “We do have a resource assistant who can help them if they need some tweaking of their resume, or to look up jobs sites or to apply for jobs. There is that support.”
The second component being offered is for those who need more hands-on help with finding employment. These clients are “case managed.”
“Maybe they have more barriers to employment than somebody else so they need those addressed,” said Barren.
Alona Puehse, director of public relations, added these services are open to anyone who cares to use them. They are not restricted to Osoyoos residents specifically.
“Anyone can come into this centre and use them,” said Puehse. “They don’t have to live here. They can be employed, they can be anybody and that’s really good for this community because we have a lot of transient workers coming in … and it’s a place where employers in the community can say, ‘hey, I’m looking for 10 people to hire’, so that’s a really good service.”
Because the Osoyoos location is only a satellite location stemming from the main office in Oliver, the office in Osoyoos is only open Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays. The office in Oliver, however, is open full-time, Monday to Friday.
And while there was previously a WorkZone in Keremeos, the Open Door Group was not awarded that contract. They do have another satellite location in Cawston, but Keremeos employment services are now being offered by another organization out of Penticton.
For more information on the Open Door Group, you can contact them at 250-498-2911 or visit the Osoyoos office at Unit 4, 9150 Main Street.