October 7, 2021
This year, the B.C. government announced that it would be partnering with Crown Agency Innovate B.C., Mitacs, and the Information and Communications Technology Council to provide $29 million in funding to help create 3,000 jobs aimed at supporting under-represented groups in the technology sector.
Through an expansion of the Innovator Skills Initiative, this funding will provide companies with grants of $5,000 to $10,000 per employee to hire workers. The program will prioritize placements for people who have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19, and historically underrepresented in the technology space, such as Indigenous, Black, people of colour, women and non-binary people, 2SLGBTG+ and others. Applications will be open until the spring of 2022, or until all funds have been distributed.
The expansion comes after a series of consultations by Brenda Bailey, Parliamentary Secretary for Technology and Innovation, announced in June 2021. Ms. Bailey led a series of consultations with multiple stakeholders engaged with people and organizations from under-represented community to learn how the government could prioritize inclusions in helping people become involved in tech.
“I want to thank everyone who provided invaluable input to the Innovator Skills Initiative program redesign. With your expertise, we have created a program that will help more people become part of our strong, innovative and inclusive technology sector with career starts that can lead to permanent, good jobs,” Bailey said. “With the program changes in place, B.C. companies will have an easier time accessing the program and quickly putting new employees with the right technology skills in place. By consulting with businesses and people from marginalized communities, we have created a program that will help strengthen the diversity of the tech sector.”
By: Farrah Kudus