by Stacy Dunn
Career Bridges is a 12-week vocational assessment and guidance program for people considering a career change or further training. Along with classroom time, participants, also referred to as clients, hear from guest speakers and take part in a six-week job placement or self-employment option.
The four locations of Career Bridges on PEI – Charlottetown, O’Leary, Summerside, and Montague, hold programs designed to help those looking to re-enter the workforce, make a career change, or just find a helping hand. The program is offered three times a year: January to March, March to June, and September to December.
“We do one-on-one and group work and we are constantly evolving,” says Bruce Cluney, Program Coordinator. “In the early stage of the pandemic, we suspended delivery of the program and facilitators used that time to update our curriculum and discuss different teaching approaches, such as using virtual meetings.”
Bruce is one the program’s success stories. His participation in Career Bridges eventually led to employment with them.
“I was reading The Employment Journey on PEI publication at the local library when I saw information about Career Bridges,” says Bruce, who had just moved to PEI from Newfoundland & Labrador in 2017.
“The program allowed me to become more familiar with the Island and to explore the resources and tools available to assist me in my employment pursuits. The diagnostic and self-assessment component confirmed that my gifts were in the areas of administration, leadership, and helping others.
“After I graduated from university, I started as a guidance counsellor in the K-12 education system, and I also spent a few years administering an adult basic education and life skills program. As a Program Coordinator here with Career Bridges, I feel I have come full circle in my journey.
“Our clients are looking at full-time work, part-time work, or self-employment. We even have clients who are semi-retired or retired and are looking for volunteer opportunities to get more engaged in their community.
“The one commonality between clients who are Islanders and newcomers to PEI is they are discovering their talents and gifts, then finding a place for these talents and gifts within the PEI economy. We become a tight-knit family as we root for and support one another.”
The program is tailored to the individual needs of the clients. Each group decides who some of the guest speakers will be.. The work placements are of the client’s choosing as well.
“The placement can be in an area the clients already have training in, or something new they want to try out.”
After the program ends, clients still have access to Career Bridges facilitators and resources. “We will still help with resumés and do mock interviews. I think our facilitators are the secret sauce that make clients feel their time with us is worthwhile and takes them from where they are to where they want to be.”
The next Career Bridges session for at all locations begins January 4, 2022. There is no cost to join this program.
For more information, contact a Career Bridges office:
A list of resources and services for job seekers can be found online at www.employmentjourney.com/resources-services-for-job-seekers