Partners Building Futures was a three-year pilot program created in 2006 with joint investment from Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC) and the New Brunswick Ministry of Post-Secondary Education Canada. The province did not renew the program in 2009. Partners Building Futures offered women receiving social assistance a 10-week introduction to the skilled trades in New Brunswick, as well as pre-employment orientation and assessment at New Brunswick Community College, and ongoing support with training and related costs during apprenticeship. For example, the program paid transportation and dental expenses to replace social assistance benefits and helped these women through the initial period when their apprenticeships would not pay a living wage for them and their families. In its first cycles, the program offered participants two weeks of job shadowing as an introduction to the workplace. This turned out to be an insufficient means of helping women find employment in the trades. In the last cycle of the project, employers were reimbursed for the apprentices’ first three months on the job. This period allowed the women to make a connection to a workplace. The program provided financial support such as daycare subsidies, start-up tools, travel and training. Two mentors provided support and advice, and program staff developed relationships with employers to ensure that participants secured appropriate employment opportunities. The program continued to offer these supports until participants completed the second year of apprenticeship, at which point their salaries were expected to increase to allow self-sufficiency. The expectation is that the program will be replicated or adapted in other provinces and regions of Canada.

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