BUILD has helped transform the lives of Winnipeggers by providing training and job opportunities in the construction sector. In December the province cut the funding, pulling the plug on the program, but it’s able to keep its doors open thanks to a new grant.
It serves people facing barriers to employment and between one and five people come every day to seek training in the trades, according to its executive director, Sean Hogan.
“Since 2006, we’ve trained over a thousand people. It’s a huge impact,” he said. When the funding was pulled devastation he said the devastation was felt. “Staring down the long barrel of those names who we knew would continue to come, and who have, it was devastating.”
But after three months of uncertainty, BUILD is back on, after the province handed them a $250,000 dollar bridge grant on March 21. The money is enough to train a new round of students, but the program will need more long-term funding.
“We worked very, very hard communicating with the province, trying to understand where things went wrong, trying to understand where communication needed to improve,” said Hogan.
The continuation of the program offers temporary relief to the community of Point Douglas as BUILD sits on a stretch of main Street that has seen two major fires within weeks of each other, destroying 3 businesses and a residential block.
“The work that we do, it provides people a lot of hope. And what feels more hopeless than a city block missing half it’s building because they burnt down?” said Hogan.
The program does meaningful work to help people find employment and provides opportunities for those involved in the justice system, or aging out of CFS care.
“One of our founders, Jerry Woods said, when we were founded ‘If you don’t give people a spot at the campfire, they’re going to burn down the tipi.’ And that’s what we do.”
Hogan said BUILD is applying for long-term provincial funding through a request for proposals, which he believes the program is perfectly suited for.
He said he hopes to bring good news in the coming weeks and has hope for a program that has brought hope to so many.
–– With files from Global’s Iris Dyck