Additional funding means the Portage Learning and Literacy Centre can double the amount of people who can take part in their Portage Work Experience Program.

Executive Director Cathy Dowd says they will be 32 more participants over the next 16 months.

"We have a program that's currently running that prepares youth that have barriers to employment with skills training and prepares them to have long term employment in the community," says Dowd. "They'll first get skills training and then they get work experience placement. All of the time that they spend with us in the program is compensated at minimum wage, but they could get more once they're placed into a local employer."

Applicants must be between the ages of 15 and 30, be a Canadian Citizen or Permanent Resident, be living in the Portage or Central Plains area, and be ready for full-time training and work. The deadline for applications for the next program is September 13th with the program set to start on September 20th. Selected applicants will take part in two to four weeks of full-time paid pre-employment skills training followed by 12 to 14 weeks of paid full-time work experience.

"Once they're done their training, we put them into local employers that are wanting to take them on," says Dowd. "The employers also benefit because they're getting somebody who's been recently trained and then they can also be compensated for that person to be there. There's little cost to the employer to be able to take on a participant and teach them how to work in their workplace and then they just will invoice us, and we'll reimburse them for the participant's time."

Dowd says they will also offer services, such as a food handlers' certificate, WHMIS or CPR training. Any potential applicants or employers who wish to take part can send an email to Cathy at or Devan (program coordinator) at