At the Woodlands County Council meeting on December 22, 2021, Economic Development Officer Bert Roach applied on behalf of Community Futures Yellowhead East (CFYE). The request was for a letter of support from Woodlands County Council in connection with CFYE’s application for a regional application for the Women’s Economic Recovery Challenge grant. Along with the county, CFYE had also contacted regional partners to help them consolidate their hopes for a grant. The Women’s Economic Recovery Challenge Grant provides funds to Alberta nonprofits, such as CFYE, to help support Alberta women and girls as they attempt to recover economically from the pandemic.
According to information provided by the Government of Alberta, funding would range from $ 25,000 to $ 250,000 per approved project. “Funding can be used for the creation of a brand new project or used to expand an existing project / program. All projects must be completed within two years of award. Successful applicants will receive grant funding in advance so their projects can begin immediately, ”the official document read. Costs eligible for funding include travel costs, materials such as printing, communication costs such as marketing or advertising, planning and administration, and expenses considered to be directly related to the project. successful implementation of the project.
There are four identified program outcomes. To be eligible, a project must show a measurable impact and align with at least one of them. The four outcomes are to increase the representation of women and girls in STEM, increase the representation of women and girls in entrepreneurship, reduce barriers women face in the workplace, and facilitate women’s career transitions, professional skills and entry or re-entry into the labor market. For each outcome, the Government of Alberta’s program guideline provided examples of the types of activities that would be considered eligible.
To increase the representation of women and girls in STEM, he said nonprofits could develop a self-sustaining Alberta ecosystem “that offers training, mentorship, networking and tools to ensure they thrive.” To increase representation in entrepreneurship, the guide mentions that women entrepreneurs are one of the fastest growing business segments in the country. “To continue this accelerated growth, women entrepreneurs must remain competitive and we must make sure that girls think about entrepreneurship from a young age,” one reads.
As examples of reducing the barriers women face in the workplace, the guide offers several options, ranging from creating educational tools for employers to overcome barriers to specifically targeted training to educate women and men. women of their rights in the workplace. He also said he is establishing transition plans for employers to help reduce barriers before and after maternity leave. The list included the possibility of helping employers implement “extended projects for women that would increase their skills in areas where they might not otherwise have opportunities.” He also mentioned the creation of mentoring programs, “especially women-to-women mentoring – and networking opportunities that lead to growth and job creation”.
The end result listed focused on the career transitions of women upon entering or re-entering the labor market. The guide says this could involve helping low-skilled and low-income women access more “high-skilled, high-income employment opportunities.” It could also help mid-career women seize new opportunities. Following the suggestions provided in the guide does not guarantee funding.
Woodlands County Council deemed the letter of support an easy yes and quickly voted unanimously to provide it. The letter, written by Mayor John Burrows, said, “We are confident that this regional initiative will encourage and support women of all ages to pursue and thrive in STEM-based careers in our region,” reads. “As part of our strategic economic development efforts to have a market-ready workforce, this project will allow us to promote opportunities within our local labor market to a key demographic who we know , faces additional barriers in pursuing careers in STEM. The project will also contribute to local diversification efforts by promoting STEM opportunities, ”the letter concluded.
Those interested in finding out more about the program and the potential opportunities if the application is successful are encouraged to contact Community Futures Yellowhead East. The non-profit organization helps entrepreneurs and small business owners bid for success, ultimately leading to an economically diverse region. Not only can they lend money to businesses, but they also provide additional support for small businesses, including training and networking programs.