Job training in jeopardy with loss of federal cash, mental health group fears
The Regina branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association is worried about the future of a job program after losing federal funding for the initiative.
The branch had been offering a program to enhance job skills for people with mental illness.
Funding, for next year, has not been renewed.
"It would be very much of a disappointment if CMHA did not have this," Melody Krick told CBC News Friday.
Krick has been taking part in a number of CMHA programs aimed at helping people find jobs.
"I've learned so much through CMHA," she said. "I get through the anxiety that I get."
Currently, Krick works in a kitchen at the CMHA's Regina branch. Having a mental illness often made it difficult to find work, but — thanks in large part to vocational training the branch offers — Krick says she has worked in several kitchens and as a janitor.
"I love it," she said of her current position. "I just find that I like the challenge of it and exploring the newer opportunities."
Federal support for the vocational training program was $110,000 per year.
Kevin Huber, the executive director for the Regina branch, says losing that money will put a serious dent in what they can offer.
"We won't be able to put as many people through as we have been," he told CBC News. Currently about 50 people are able to get some training through the program.
"That is a bombshell," Huber said, about losing the federal support. "We rely on that funding for the program. Without it, we lose two job coach positions."
Huber said other elements of the program are also in jeopardy, including a position that provides training in clerical skills.
"The members who are participating in the program will be impacted the most," he said.
"We're thin as it is," he added. "We provide a variety of services for people who suffer with mental illness. It impacts our whole organisation."
Huber says the branch is looking for a replacement source of support. The federal grant runs out at the end of September.
In addition to training for kitchen jobs, the branch offers courses for cleaning and janitorial services as well as clerical work, among others.
Government funding helps cover the costs of trainers and wages for trainees.
With files from CBC's Tiffany Cassidy