The Manitoba government is investing $25 million in 86 community-based training and employment agencies that provide services to help more than 20,400 unemployed and low-income Manitobans improve their skills and employment opportunities.
“We are investing in training and employment organizations throughout the province to help Manitobans prepare for better jobs and brighter futures,” said Education and Training Minister Ian Wishart. “These partnerships help build new pathways to employment by connecting those who are looking for work with in-demand jobs in Manitoba.”
Most of the community-based service providers are not-for-profit, including the Momentum Centre, which offers a community reintegration program for individuals released from an addictions treatment program at Headingley Correctional Centre to help prepare them for employment and reduce future contact with the law. The Momentum Centre is receiving $900,000 from the province to support this work, and other projects.
“Our government is committed to improving the criminal justice system in a way that reduces crime and creates more success stories in the community,” said Justice Minister Heather Stefanson. “One of the ways we can do this is by investing in programs that help people find a job and a healthy path forward, like the one offered through the Momentum Centre.”
Dawn Rodgers and Kimber Corthey, co-executive directors of the Momentum Centre, welcomed the announcement.
“We have been working with people who have complex barriers to employment but are hungry to learn and give back to the community,” said Rodgers. “The Momentum Community Reintegration Project is a harm reduction and pre-employment program that assists previously incarcerated individuals who struggle with addictions and need support in achieving life stabilization, education, work readiness and employment, with the goal of reducing recidivism.”
Clint Sinclair participated in the Momentum Community Reintegration Program and shared his experience.
“I don’t think people realize how hard community reintegration is,” said Sinclair. “What people don’t realize about guys like us is that we have a huge amount of social anxiety in normal everyday settings. You feel out of place, like you don’t belong. The Momentum Community Reintegration Program helped me to come out my shell, try things I never could’ve tried before and interact positively in all sorts of social environments. Wrap-around supports like housing, recreation as well as cultural and emotional supports made it so much easier to stay on a good path.”
Stefanson noted this investment supports the government’s strategy to reduce crime in communities, which includes crime prevention, restorative justice and responsible reintegration of offenders. Manitoba Justice is focused on programs that work to reintegrate offenders back into the community after leaving custody, helping to ensure they break cycles of crime and destructive behaviour in their lives, she added.