Nanaimo Youth Services Association says its Youth Employment Centre will close March 31 because of funding cuts by GT Hiring Solutions, but the company claims it’s a dispute over fiscal reporting.
GT Hiring Solutions is the prime contractor to the B.C. Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation to deliver the Employment Program of B.C. and subcontracts with agencies, such as NYSA to provide specialized employment services.
NYSA, located at 290 Bastion St., assists young people with employment and career development, housing and other programs. Its Youth Employment Centre provides resources and programs for people age 16-30 to improve their employment potential.
“Cash flow from this private company is being choked off because we are in a place where they decided to reinterpret the eligibility of some of these kids to get services in the Youth Employment Centre and, as an employer I have to give my staff … a layoff notice effective March 31 and I fully expect they won’t be coming back,” said Steve Arnett, NYSA chief executive officer.
But Carolyn Yeager, GT Hiring Solutions CEO, said Friday that funding has not been cut off for the centre, adding there is no intention to shut down or change any portion of NYSA.
She said Arnett signed a two-year contract extension Sept. 20 to operate the Youth Employment Centre until March 31, 2019, and GT Hiring Solutions has not received notice of intent to cancel the contract extension.
According to Yeager, the contention with NYSA is over fiscal reporting and an accounting issue that has not been addressed.
Arnett said he has concerns with the system for reporting how NYSA staff provide services, which he said is overly complex and time consuming.
Arnett said funding is being cut and said he will let NYSA’s clients speak to the value of the Youth Employment Centre through a series of public service announcements on YouTube.
“One thing I need to make really clear here is NYSA provides exceptional service and we are really pleased with the services they provide to youth in Nanaimo and we do not wish to changeour contracting relationship,” Yeager said. “We’re not out here to take over and provide services to youth in Nanaimo. We want NYSA to do it, but … we have asked a question and we need them to provide documentation to support their contention, so we want them to clear it up and move forward with them.”