The Hon. Shane Simpson, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction, helped cut the red ribbon to commemorate the opening of the South Surrey-White Rock WorkBC Centre on May 31st. The spacious and newly-built centre at 1688 152nd Avenue is leased and operated by MOSAIC, who was awarded contracts to operate five WorkBC Centres beginning this past Spring.
Approximately 125 people turned out for the celebration, which received a blessing from Semiahmoo First Nation Chief Harley Chappell and Councillor Joanne Charles. Ritu Khanna from South Surrey-White Rock Chamber of Commerce offered a warm welcome to the community, as did Anita Huberman from the Surrey Board of Trade, who also presented MOSAIC CEO Olga Stachova with a plaque for the new centre.
The Minister acknowledged the short time-line provided between the announcement of the WorkBC contract and the launch of the “fabulous facility”. He also paid tribute to MOSAIC, saying that the organization “understands the work of supporting others to achieve success and has been doing this work for a very long time”.
The ministry had previously announced an ambitious goal of reducing overall poverty levels in the province by 25%, and said that WorkBC Centres was an important component towards this. Simpson said that WorkBC has evolved and been restructured to focus on better services and outcomes, particularly in areas to assist those who have barriers and that people with vulnerabilities would be provided with more support.
Susan Liu Woronko, MOSAIC Senior Manager responsible for the new site, and who organized the event, said that the South Surrey Centre will place a focus on outreach with local social service organizations to provide wraparound support beyond employment services. “With outreach to other service agencies, and support from the partners at our centre, we’re excited to assist South Surrey and White Rock residents in finding and retaining gainful employment.”
MOSAIC’s partners in providing specialized services at South Surrey WorkBC Centre are ACCESS (for Indigenous Persons), AGORA Employment Essentials (Persons with Multiple Barriers), Back in Motion (Persons with Disabilities), Douglas College (Youth and Youth-at Risk), and YWCA (Survivors of Violence and/or Abuse. In addition to managing the new centre, MOSAIC provides specialized services for newcomers and refugees.