History of Work Prep
Many years ago, in 1973, Work Prep was born as a vocational rehabilitation arm of Regina Social Services. It was then that Work Prep developed a work placement program known as REAP—the Regina Employment Assistance Program. Soon after in 1975, the Contemporary Women’s Program (CWP) also began. CWP was a breakthrough program for the women of Regina wanting to make healthy changes in their lives. Women transitioned to treatment programs, counselling, stability programs, education and to employment.
Years later, in 1984 as part of the Welfare reform, the Ministry of Social Services launched new initiatives to provide opportunities for Social Service recipients to get work and training. As a result, it was determined that Work Prep was no longer needed. However, this did not last long, and soon after, it was quickly apparent that a large number of individuals were not immediately ready for work and training, and instead required pre-employment services to assist them in moving forward. As a result, Work Prep was contracted to deliver these services, and amalgamated the REAP and CWP programs to incorporate as a not for profit aimed at delivering services to clients experiencing challenges on their journey to employment. We have been doing so ever since.
Over the last four decades, Work Prep has served over 20,000 individuals in Regina and surrounding area. We pride ourselves in being client centered, and as a result are always committed to reviewing our services to ensure that they best meet the changing needs of our clients, the economy, and the labour market. As a result, we have a diverse history of program delivery. Some highlights, include:
In 1997, Work Prep partnered with the Saskatchewan Tourism Education Council and several of Regina’s hotels to deliver the Hospitality Entrance Program. For seven years, we served the hospitality sector and provided employment opportunities to individuals who may have struggled to get their foot in the door.
In 1999, Work Prep and the Regina Health District (now Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region) collaborated in the development of the Health Careers Entrance Program, a program to help increase the number of First Nations and Métis people applying for and working in the Health Region. We developed and delivered the program for over 10 years, with more than 100 people securing employment.
In 2006, Work Prep began offering a drop in group known as Self Management and Recovery Training (SMART). SMART is an abstinence-based self-help program based on choice, personal responsibility, proven principles of change, and unconditional self-acceptance. It is designed to support individuals who have chosen to abstain, or are considering abstinence from any kind of addictive behaviours. Work Prep offered SMART programming until 2013.
In 2007, we obtained funding through the United Way of Regina Tomorrow Fund to develop and deliver the Youth Employment Outreach Initiative, now known as the Youth Employment Readiness Project (YERP). Through the seed money provided by the United Way, we established an ongoing relationship with Service Canada, which continues to fund YERP. The program focuses on preparing youth for work and opening doors to employment, or connecting with education to improve future employment opportunities. In 2016 we received our first multiyear contract with Service Canada to provide the YERP program and have just recently been awarded our longest standing contract with Service Canada to deliver YERP into 2020.
In 2008, we began providing services tailored to the needs of parents in our Parent Support Program, later known as Employment Service for Parents. This program supported parents referred by the Ministry of Social Services to gain access to community resources such as childcare, housing, and transportation, to support their successful participation employment. In 2014, the provincial government began providing this service in-house.
Recognizing that individuals who have been recently involved in the justice system may have different needs on their journey to employment, in 2009, Work Prep began the Offender Employment Initiative, now known as Job Launch. Job Launch supports individuals who have recently been involved with the provincial corrections system to reach their employment goals. Clients receive vocational counselling and individualized job coaching, often with a direct link to employment.
In 2011, we received short term funding from the Urban Aboriginal Strategy to provide Elder Services. From this starting point, in 2012 we received funding from Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada to pilot an Aboriginal Liaison position. The Aboriginal Liaison worked with a broad spectrum of community to build relationships with Tribal Councils, First Nations, aboriginal organizations and other stakeholders to support responsive, client centered, community based service delivery for our clients with Aboriginal Ancestry. The Aboriginal Liaison also worked on integrating First Nations and Metis content into our Employment Programs and Resources.
In 2012, we established a Computer Resource Centre open to anyone needing access to a computer for work search purposes. We have professional staff available doing anything from employment counselling, helping prepare resumes to assisting individuals to navigate online job searches. Also in that year, we partnered with the Saskatchewan Arts Board to develop an Artist in Residence Program. Through this program we worked to incorporate visual arts into our employment programs was as a vehicle for reflection, re-evaluation and rejuvenation, fostering self-efficacy and self-sufficiency.
In 2013, we began developing Quick Skills programs, which was inspired by our Entrance programs of the 1990’s. Quick Skills targeted specific industries and the goal was for participants to gain a competitive advantage when applying for employment. Each program provided various certificates suitable to the industry, taught essential employability skills and facilitated connections to employers.
In the spring of 2015, with funding from the File Hills Qu’Appelle Tribal Council, Carry The Kettle Nakota Nation partnered with Work Prep to deliver the Moving On to Regina for Employment (MORE) pilot project. MORE helped people living on reserve find employment and housing in Regina.
2020 Halifax Street
Regina, SK, S4P 1T7