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JET program helps students reduce barriers to employment

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DAWSON CREEK – Students with barriers to employment have the opportunity to develop skills for success in the workplace through the Job Education and Training (JET) program at the Dawson Creek Campus of Northern Lights College.

The 10-month program focuses on developing personal career and work plans based on the individual interests and abilities of the students. The program includes classroom-based and hands-on learning, and a practicum component.

“We work on moving the students towards independent living. It’s very much hands-on learning,” said instructor Carole Taylor.

Regular activities focus on typical daily or weekly tasks such as catching a city bus, going grocery shopping, cooking meals, or going out for coffee. For example, when planning a shopping trip, the students compile a list, use flyers to compare prices, and calculate how much change they should receive.

Other components of the program include: Personal Living, including building self-esteem, budgeting, and communicating positively; Personal Planning; Life Skills, such as telling time, money recognition and menu planning; Customer Service, such as body language, listening skills and handling complaints; Horticulture; Employability Skills Training; and Professionalism in the Workplace, including personal grooming, ethics, resume writing and interview skills.

The program also has a 120-hour work experience placement at a local business, such as a grocery store or restaurant. As well, students receive basic training in first aid, basic kitchen safety, and workplace health and safety.

Brianna Harman is one of five students enrolled in the JET program for 2010-11. She also is a student at South Peace Secondary School, and her mother Pam says that the JET program has been very important in Brianna’s education.

“The students have been working on a variety of life skills that will help prepare them for their future, just the same as any student attending any post-secondary education,” said Pam Harman. “The JET program is a great asset to our community. It gives young adults with barriers to employment an opportunity to further their education in a post-secondary setting. These students are gaining more skills to be contributing and capable members in our society.”

The JET program has been offered at the Dawson Creek Campus since 2002. Traditionally, students in the program are enrolled in School District 59 and are preparing for the transition to adult community organizations.

This year, in response to community feedback and the desire to provide more experiences to students, Taylor has added two new components, Horticulture and Life Skills. In the Horticulture section, students grow their own vegetables and sell them at the farmer’s market, or donate them to a local service organization.

Seeing these students’ accomplishments, increased self-confidence, and recognition that they can work and be part of society makes the program successful.

“Brianna has had an opportunity to continue her schooling in another institute in addition to South Peace. This is very powerful, as she sees many of her peers and cousins going off to college or university and now she, too, is able to attend college to further her education,” said Harman. “Brianna is very proud to tell people that she attends Northern Lights College. She has also displayed more confidence in herself since attending.

The next intake of students for the JET program starts in February. For more information, go online to or call the NLC Student Recruitment department, 250-782-5251.