BladeRunners was created in 1994 during the construction of GM Place in Vancouver. It was founded with the purpose of matching construction needs with opportunities for Inner City disadvantaged ‘street-involved’ youth. Since for at-risk youth, most of the problems occur after working hours, a system of 24/7 support from BladeRunners co-ordinators was developed which led to the award-winning BladeRunners Model. After two more years, the Province of British Columbia began formally supporting the program and took on a stewardship role. The Aboriginal Community Career Employment Services Society (ACCESS) became a major funder of the program in 2002 and is now currently the contracted provincial manager. Besides being a funder of the program, ACCESS manages the BladeRunners program in the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island. The BladeRunners program currently is delivered by eight delivery agents and has expanded into eighteen different cities.
BladeRunners Mandate and Goals
This award-winning model has effectively and efficiently enabled quality services to be provided to at risk youth and the community for over 10 years. The mandate is:
“…to provide unemployed marginalized at-risk-youth with on-going support, job readiness skills, and work-place training so that they can overcome their barriers to employment and achieve long-term attachment to the workforce.”
Identifies and recruits candidates aged 15 to 30 (19 to 30 in some regions) who have multiple barriers to employment.
Prepares participants for job placement with job readiness skills through a structured standardized training program.
Provides participants with local meaningful work experience through on the job training to enhance their long-term employment prospects.
Creates on going support for participants to ensure long-term attachment to the workforce, and where possible, laddering individuals into apprenticeship positions in the trades.
Identifies, creates, maintains and strengthens partnerships with key stakeholders such as youth, community organizations, employers, trade unions, post-secondary institutions, and various levels of government.