On February 16th, Knack, a new initiative of Potluck Café Society, incubated and closely supported by LEDlab, made their first public appearance.
Hosted by local business, The Pint, Knack brought out more than 60 employers and social entrepreneurs to learn more about their strategy to create new local jobs for DTES residents.
Knack seeks to provide flexible, part time employment opportunities to people who are likely to be on income assistance.
A Business in Vancouver interview with Knack team Anna Migicovsky and Colin Stansfield sums it up nicely:
“Welfare rates have not gone up in nine years, but in 2012 the province changed the rules to allow people receiving social assistance to keep more of their earned income before their benefits are clawed back. People with disabilities can earn up to $800 a month; people deemed employable can earn $200 a month; and people with “persistent and multiple” barriers to employment can earn $500 a month.
Using figures provided by the Ministry of Social Development and Innovation, [Knack] calculates that there are currently a total of 383,000 work hours per month currently going unused from the 7,000 DTES residents who collect social assistance, representing $56 million a year.
The idea for Knack is not to create full-time jobs in order for people to get off welfare, Migicovsky said.
“It’s a very diverse population and not everyone is able to work 40 hours a week full-time,” Migicovsky said.
Doing a few hours of work a day can not only supplement a monthly welfare check of just [$635] a month, it can improve health and well-being.”
Read the whole Business in Vancouver article here and check out some photos of the Knack launch!
What is Knack?
Knack (as in, one has a knack for something) is an initiative of Potluck Café Society. Knack is the only employment program in Vancouver using digital badges to showcase employment related skill sets. For employers, Knack is a hiring strategy to achieve community impact through inclusive employment. For people facing barriers to employment, Knack is a clear path to meaningful work through skills-based training.