VERNON — It has never been easy for Krystal Holland to find work. She faces multiple barriers to employment that have made finding a suitable job difficult for her.
The 33-year old mother of three was working from home in sales and customer service when she was laid off in 2014.
“I sent out more than 150 resumes, but I didn’t get any bites,” said Holland, who lives with fibromyalgia, ADD and Raynaud’s phenomenon. She approached her local WorkBC Employment Services Centre, Community Futures North Okanagan. It was a decision that changed her life.
After a five-day workshop with WorkBC, Holland was set up with the Downtown Vernon Association (DVA) on a Job Creation Partnership – a government-funded program that gives people work experience in an area that suits their needs and interests. This project later led to her full-time employment in administration and market research with Sproing Creative, a Vernon-based marketing agency.
“I was nervous but it appealed to me because of geology studies I had done in the past and it just kind of clicked,” said Holland, who with the DVA was tasked with writing an operations manual for the Vernon Avenue Market – an outdoor summer marketplace for local farmers and merchants.
“I love to write and finding out I was going to be writing with the DVA was perfect.”
With the help of WorkBC, she worked with her employer to determine the accomodations she would need for her project and used skills she didn’t know she had until being put into a situation in which they could flourish.
Once her work experience with the DVA was complete, there was already a new position for her in the works. The WorkBC centre in Vernon, Community Futures North Okanagan, had set her up with Sproing, which hired Holland through the Employment Program of B.C.’s wage subsidy program. Holland now works for Sproing full time.
“It’s the perfect situation for me,” Holland said. “I’ve never taken a sick day but I know that if I need to, I can. And that’s huge for me.”
Holland is another example of the Employment Program of B.C. bringing new opportunities for out-of-work British Columbians. She said it changed her life.
“After being laid off and going through the stresses of my conditions and raising a family, it was tough,” Holland said.
“But after working with the DVA, I found out that I really do have skills that are transferrable to different jobs. I always thought it was just black and white – that I went to school for something so that’s what I needed to do. That isn’t the case, and I know that now. I realize now that I can do more than I first thought I could.”
September is Disability Awareness Month.