Last week, April 24 to 28 was Alberta Works Week, and the Stettler Alberta Works office hosted workshops from several career service agencies throughout the day on Wednesday, April 26 to spread awareness about the career services available in the region.
“We use Alberta Works Week as an opportunity to showcase our programs, our services, and our connections,” said Marilyn Shuman, Alberta Works program supervisor for Drumheller and Stettler.
Alberta Works Week is an annual program delivered by the Government of Alberta to help make connections between employers and employees.
“Alberta’s shifting labour market is making career and employment services more important than ever,” said Minister of Community and Social Services Irfan Sabir. “Alberta Works Week events help young and unemployed Albertans explore their career options, research training programs and find jobs.”
The Stettler Alberta Works office hosted three agencies throughout the day: MH enterprises, a Drumheller-based organization that provides one-to-one career services to Stettler residents; Stettler Adult Learning, which hosts an ongoing two-week employment program called New Futures; and Employment Placement Support Services (EPSS), a Red Deer-based organization that provides multi-channel career services for people who need help applying for a job quickly.
Changes in the labour market over the last few years have meant that more and more central Albertans are now looking for jobs.
Based on the Government of Alberta’s latest labour market report, as of March 2017, the unemployment rate in the Camrose-Drumheller region, of which Stettler is a part, was 9.9 per cent – the highest in the province.
This is up from a rate of 7.1 per cent in March 2016, and 5.8 per cent in March 2015.
The overall seasonally adjusted unemployment rate across the province was 8.4 per cent in March 2017, compared to the national rate of 6.7 per cent.
Despite these numbers, Shuman believes that employers in the Stettler region have coped well with the recent economic changes.
“I think that Stettler has done a very good job in maintaining employment through the labour market changes,” she said.
Employers have been flexible and have put in a good effort to keep jobs available, she added.
For those who are having a difficult time finding employment, Shuman pointed out that part of the reason the government holds events like Alberta Works Week is to let people know that they’re not alone in their struggles and there are resources available to help them through their situation.
“A lot of people have this feeling that they’re isolated in their experience, but that’s not the case; there are other people looking for work and this is place where you can feel safe and supported,” said Shuman.
Sandra Lowes, delivery manager for Drumheller, Olds and Stettler, also noted that the importance of Alberta Works Week extends beyond the week itself.
“All of our Alberta Works centres are open every weekday all year round,” she said. “Anyone can come and job search and there are lots of resources available.”
Some of the resources provided at the Stettler Alberta Works centre include career counseling and job search services, as well as physical tools to help with job hunting such as photocopiers, a fax machine, and computers with internet access.
In addition, there are a number of resources available online through the Alberta Learning Information System (ALIS) at alis.alberta.ca for people who can’t make it into the office.