VCLA future in jeopardy

John Decoste
Published on February 25, 2014

The Valley Community Learning Association (VCLA) held an event Feb. 14 at its offices in Kentville to raise awareness that its future may be in jeopardy due to the proposed implementation by the federal government of the Canada Jobs Grant.

For the past four years, VCLA has offered classes to allow the unemployed and underemployed to better themselves by upgrading their education and skills. Its programs are funded through the Labour Market Agreement (LMA), created in the 2007 federal budget to “help provide training to those who need it, including underrepresented groups.”

The government is proposing to take 60 per cent of the LMA funding and move it to the Canada Jobs Grant, leaving the province with “a significantly reduced amount of funding for the most vulnerable of its citizens.”

VCLA executive director Peter Gillis said he doesn’t disagree with the grant in itself, only the plan to implement it using funding currently earmarked for organizations like VCLA.

Many current and former VCLA clients attended the gathering, which included speeches and the singing of a specially-written protest song.