Exciting Changes to BESS

Woman Working on Laptop

We recently carried out an assessment of our Building Economic Self-Sufficiency program (BESS), to find ways in which we could improve our clients' success in the program. Following the BESS assessment, we will be making the following improvements to our program:

  1. Barrier Removal: we believe that if we can alleviate whichever barriers are most impeding a woman’s access to employment, teach her the cyclical nature of progress, and arm her to deal with the effects of her abuse, she will be more confident and capable in her journey toward employment and self-sufficiency.
     
  2. Service Expansion: we will now be offering a wider range of workshops aimed at eliminating employment barriers; working not only on job-finding skills like resume building and interviewing, but communication and interpersonal skills to thrive in the workplace. We have also added a counsellor to our program to address the psychological and emotional effects of abuse, with workshop topics like stress and anger management.
     
  3. Elimination of eligibility criteria: BESS used to require clients be “employment-ready”. We will now be accepting women at any point in their journey toward self-sufficiency, provided they have survived intimate partner abuse and have left the relationship. We have equipped our program to help women become “employment-ready” if they are not already.

One aspect of our improved program is to bring in guest workshop facilitators to conduct sessions with our clients on useful information that pertains to their job search as well as other aspects of their unique situations as survivors of intimate partner violence. We have found these workshops very useful for keeping the programming interesting and relevant, and we’ve been able to reconnect with clients that we hadn’t seen in a while because they were interested in the new workshop topics not strictly related to employment.

The most popular recent guest facilitator workshops have been an information session with Detective Jennifer Metzger, of the award-winning Victim Support Unit with Toronto Police Services; a workshop on Legal Aid Ontario; an information session and Q&A with a Peace Officer from the Ministry of Labour to talk about Employment Standards; a workshop on effective job searching with Indeed’s Job Squad; and a workshop on financial planning with the Credit Counselling Society of Ontario.

We are very excited about the changes to the BESS program and the positive implications we believe they will have for our clients, so please get in touch if you would like to learn more!

Contact Us:
Tel: 416-924-1411 Ext. 279
Email: bess@intervalhouse.ca