The tech industry is huge in the Okanagan, but not everyone has the ability to work their way into that sector.
That’s why the RBC Foundation donated nearly $12,000 to the local United Way chapter on Tuesday in downtown Kelowna. RBC’s Ray Warren presented a cheque for $11,800 to the United Way’s Helen Jackman, and the money will help those between the ages of 16 and 22 get a leg up on tech training to which they might not otherwise have access.
“The whole point of that is to give them exposure to what it might be like to think about a career in those sectors and to give them a bit of confidence, because traditionally they may have been overlooked or may have not even thought that they would have opportunity to move into that kind of space,” said Jackman, who is the executive director of the United Way’s Central and South Okanagan Similkameen chapter.
The program is called <Code>anagan, and it is a partnership between the United Way CSO, Accelerate Okanagan, Okanagan Boys and Girls Clubs, and Okanagan College.
“RBC Future Launch, which is the theme for this donation, is really about empowering Canadian youth for the jobs of tomorrow,” said Warren, who is the commercial financial services vice-president for the Okanagan and Kootenays. “We find with United Way and the great work they do within the community there’s a venue, there’s an avenue, where they’ll make great use of this funding to hit these marks for RBC and for our communities.”
The United Way tested out <Code>anagan in the spring to much success, and Tuesday’s donation will specifically fund the program into the fall.
“Ultimately we’d love them to get internships or placements with some of the tech companies in Kelowna, so it’s great for the young people,” Jackman said. “It’s also really important for the tech sector in Kelowna. Accelerate Okanagan thinks the flow of talent into the sector is one of their number one challenges for growth. There’s talent right here.”
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