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Workplace Education Manitoba: Empowering Northern Communities with Skills for Success

Workplace Education Manitoba (WEM) is a program dedicated to providing training and education to individuals who are transitioning into new workplaces, jobs, or other endeavors.

Workplace Education Manitoba (WEM) is a program dedicated to providing training and education to individuals who are transitioning into new workplaces, jobs, or other endeavors. The program is committed to serving Northern communities and workplaces, with a wide range of fully funded training programs that are accessible to adult learners across Manitoba.


WEM was originally founded in Winnipeg in 1991 to address the need for an organization that could assess training needs and provide a tailored training response. For more than 30 years, the program has focused on Essential Skills, and recently refreshed its framework to Skills for Success. This change has allowed WEM to provide innovative and flexible assessment and training responses that meet the evolving needs of the workforce and individuals.


Now stretching into Thompson, The Pas, NCN, and Flin Flon, WEM has developed and delivered programs to support unemployed individuals in readiness for employment. With programs based on recognition of prior learning and supported by workplace knowledge, Manitobans are moving forward to both employment and technical training for the skills workplaces need.


Apprenticeship has been a key focus and partnership for WEM for close to 20 years. Working with Apprenticeship Manitoba, Indigenous nations, and trades training programs, WEM has delivered innovative programming to support apprentices who are just starting out, in the midst of their technical training, or looking to pass the Interprovincial exam.


WEM's success is built on partnerships with workplaces, labor unions, Indigenous nations, non-profit organizations, and learners. The program recognizes that each partner brings something to the table that is needed to move forward. This approach has allowed WEM to provide assessment and training responses that are flexible and customized to the needs of its partners.


The Government of Canada has funded WEM for many years, supporting 24 projects across the years. From Igniting the Power Within to workplace research projects, the program continues to meet the need. WEM's most current funding from 2020 to 2024 is Workplace Connections.


The program covers a wide range of teaching, where individuals can be assigned and scheduled to the right trainer after only a short conversation with the coordinator. The training courses can range from a single afternoon to a 12-week program, all directed to those aged 18 and up. Additionally, the whole training is completely free and covered by government funding, so no upfront or late fee is required.


WEM specializes in training individuals in a variety of essential skills, including creativity, innovation, problem-solving, reading, digital skills, collaboration, adaptability, writing, numeracy, communication, email etiquette, and more. The courses are available in-person or online and are aimed at a wide range of targeted groups, from unemployed individuals to labor union partners and new trades and endeavors.


Kara Finney, CEO of WEM, states, "Our vision is for Manitoba employers to have a skilled workforce that is efficient, effective, and adaptable. We want to help ensure that their workers, both existing and future, have the Essential Skills required for success."


Dana Rebello, WEM's Project Coordinator for Thompson, is passionate about the program's commitment to Northern communities and workplaces. "We take pride in living and working in the North, where resilience and community spirit thrive. WEM is devoted to nurturing these strengths through our Skills for Success training programs," Rebello said.


Before July 2023, the Thompson office was based out of Rebello's living room, working on a government-funded job training program. In July 2023, an open house showcased the new WEM Thompson building, and since then, the program has been stationed at 3 Station Road beside the North Center Mall.


WEM's dedication to serving Northern communities and workplaces has empowered individuals with the skills they need to succeed in work, school, and life. As the program continues to grow and evolve, it remains committed to providing innovative and flexible training responses that meet the needs of its partners and learners. For more information, individuals can contact Dana Rebello at 431-354-0215 or visit their local facility at Kelsey Bay and Station Road.


~Matthias J. Johnson is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the Thompson Citizen.  The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.

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