Bulkley-Nechako Strategic Workforce Opportunities Team

Project Description

Stage one – Development of the Report
This project was initiated because many communities struggle with high unemployment while companies are having difficulty in finding workers with the right skills.  To address this dilemma it was important to understand why.  To understand the dynamics of the regional labour supply and demand the RDBN spear headed the Regional Skills Gap Analysis Project in order to develop strategies that will address the regional skills gap.
The Regional Skills Gap Analysis project engaged local residents, educational and training professionals, employers and First Nations organizations to assist in identifying the labour market challenges that exist in the region.

Stage two – Implementation of the Report
The final report was adopted by the RDBN Board of Directors on January 23, 2014.  The next steps will involve the following:

  1. Launch Event to introduce stakeholders and community members to the report
  2. Creation of a Strategic Workforce Opportunities Team 

Project Summary

Bridging the Regional Skills Gap – Implementation of Strategic Goals



  • Co-Chair - Brad McRobert
  • Co-Chair - Dave Christie
  • Secretary - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Secretary - RDBN Representative - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Advocacy Sub Committee Chair - Vacant
  • Promotion Subcommittee Chair - Val Anderson
  • Workforce and Skills Training Sub Committee Chair - Nicole Neufeld

SWOT Members




This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Municipal Economic Development Village of Burns Lake
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Post Secondary Education Industry Training Authority BC (ITA)
Dave Christie Municipal Economic Development Village of Fraser Lake
Ellen Lorentz First Nations Economic Development Burns Lake Band
Kiel Giddens Industry Sector - Energy TransCanada, Coastal GasLink Pipeline Project
Cheryl LaRocque First Nations Education and Training Prince George Nechako Aboriginal Employment and Training Association
Lindsey Larsen Regional Economic Development Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Community Futures Community Futures Stuart-Nechako
Eugene Marks Education School District #91
Kim Martinsen Community Futures Community Futures Nadina
Mike McDiarmid Education School District #54
Brad McRobert Province of BC Ministry of Jobs, Tourism & Skills Training
Nicole Neufed Post-Secondary Education University of Northern BC
Rob Newell Local Government Electoral Area G (Houston Rural)
John Nooski First Nations Agency Burns Lake Native Development Corporation
Lianne Olson Industry Sector - Energy RioTinto
Regina Saimoto Post-Secondary Education Northwest Community College - Smithers & Houston
Rosemary Edgeworth Employment Sector Progressive Employment Services Ltd
Corrine Swenson Regional Economic Development Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako
Lynn Synotte Post Secondary Education College of New Caledonia - Burns Lake
Darlene Turner Agriculture Little Valley Farms
Kelley Williams Municipal Economic Development District of Fort St James

Terms of Reference


Approved: March 23, 2015 


The Committee reflects broad-based community leadership committed to, and advocating for, a skilled and resilient labour pool that is best positioned to meet local labour demand. 

SWOT members will provide a vision for the Bulkley-Nechako, achieved through strategic implementation of priority actions that address key challenge areas.


To provide strategic direction, guidance and leadership for implementation of the Regional Skills Gap Analysis Recommendations


Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako is a regional, neutral body that will function in a facilitative role, providing an avenue for funding applications, and offering supervision of a SWOT Coordinator.



The SWOT will operate with Co-Chairs, one of which will be representative of industry.

Decision making will be by consensus.

An Executive Committee will be formed to ensure efficient response to regular business. It is preferred executive members be from different communities across the region. Positions will include:

  • Co-Chairs (2)
  • Secretaries (2)
  • Treasurer

The Executive Committee members will be nominated by SWOT members and determined by consensus.

Subcommittees: formed to implement recommendations of the Regional Skills Gap Analysis. Subcommittees should include two members of the SWOT and a minimum one member will serve as chair of the subcommittee. Where existing entities are meeting in the region to advance a similar initiative, the members of SWOT will reach out to participate with that organization.  

Any member may suggest changes to the terms of reference at any time.  Changes will be made after discussion at a regularly scheduled SWOT meeting. Terms of reference will be reviewed annually by the committee.


  • Task Focused
  • Respect
  • Openness
  • Integrity
  • Generosity
  • Flexibility
  • Confidentiality
  • Consensus based
  • Cooperative


Consistent with the Vision, the Committee will:

  • support and advance implementation of recommendations within the Regional Skills Gap Analysis
  • recommend priorities based on significant changes and influences impacting the region

ensure open communication with relevant stakeholders and ‘communities of practice’  - a group of organizations/individuals that share a common concern, and seek to improve  the situation  through shared learning

  • inform an Annual Report Card that captures status of activities within the Regional Skills Gap Analysis – this is then shared broadly
  • consider opportunities that have partial or complete reach across the regional district; this approach will support learning and best practice identification that can be then more broadly applied, for the betterment of the region as a whole




  • Promote SWOT as a regional working group with a mandate to strengthen the region’s response to workforce planning and labour market development.

Share insights, leadership, and perspectives to advance strategy recommendations.

Members are each responsible to ensure other stakeholders from their sector are informed of SWOT activities.

  • Encourage engagement of others with a common interest to support recommendation implementation
  • Support relevant funding opportunities (letters of support, linking potential funding partners, etc.)
  • Members will be responsible for their time and travel expenses to attend meetings

Participate on bi-monthly conference calls and two annual face to face meetings, or as required.





Representatives will be selected from but not limited to the following sectors:

  • Industry
  • Manufacturing, Mining, Forestry, Agriculture, Tourism, Energy
  • Education
  • Post-Secondary Education
  • First Nations Education and Training
  • Independent Business
  • Chambers of Commerce
  • Community Futures
  • First Nations Communities
  • Local Government
  • Economic Development
  • Employment
  • Province of BC
  • Public Libraries
  • Labour Unions

Membership will include 25-35 members.        

Members may appoint an alternate, if required. Both members are to remain informed through meeting notes following each meeting. If a member misses 50% of SWOT meetings in a calendar, without regrets being received, and no alternate in attendance, that committee member will be asked to step down.


Members will remain on SWOT for a period of 2 years, with the option to stand for an additional 2 years.

New membership is sought by the committee through their networks and an open invitation shared with key stakeholder groups from across the region.


  • Conference Calls  – to be held bi-monthly and as required
  • In person –-2 meetings annually at a central location
  • Email – ongoing as required



Agendas will be set by the Executive and sent out one week prior to meeting

Meetings will be facilitated by a Co-Chair

Minutes will be taken and distributed within a week following a meeting

In absence of a SWOT Coordinator, Agendas and Minutes will be drafted and distributed by SWOT Secretaries


Final Report

View and Download Final Report as a PDF - DOWNLOAD

Project Management Committee

The Project Management Committee (PMC) was instrumental in the completion of the strategy.  The PMC met monthly, attended focus group meetings, reviewed drafts of the report, and provided input and guidance to the consulting firm, Millier Dickinson Blais.  The PMC consisted of representatives from local government, industry, small business, First Nations, and Education providers.


Corrine Swenson, Manager of Regional Economic Development, Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako
Deneve Vanderwolf, Regional Economic Development Assistant, Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako
Karin Hunt, Executive Director, Prince George Nechako Aboriginal Employment and Training Association
Kathie LaForge, Community Manager, New Gold Inc., Blackwater Project
Mike McDiarmid, Assistant Superintendent, School District #54
Halley Finch, ESC Manager, Work BC
Maureen Czirfusz, Manager, District of Houston Chamber of Commerce
Lianne Olson, Community Relations Liaison, Rio Tinto Alcan
Lynn Synotte, Marketing, Recruitment and Program Linkages, College of New Caledonia, Lakes Campus
Rob Newell, Director – Electoral Area “G”(Houston Rural), Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako
Danielle Smyth, Regional Director, Eastern Region, Northwest Community College
Carrie Dusterhoft, Manager, Community Transitions, Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training


Trudy Parsons, Director Workforce Development, Millier Dickinson Blais
Sarah Lewis, Senior Development Analyst, Millier Dickinson Blais


Community Engagement

In July of 2013 Trudy Parsons and Sarah Lewis from Millier Dickinson Blais visited the Region.  During their visit six community focus groups were held, several face to face individual interviews were conducted and the resident survey was completed.

Burns-Lake Fort-St-James
Fraser-Lake Houston
Smithers Vanderhoof

In October of 2013 Trudy Parsons and Sarah Lewis from Millier Dickinson Blais returned to the region and a Special Luncheon Event was held in Burns Lake.  The event gave the opportunity for stakeholders to get a project update and provide input into prioritizing the strategic actions in the report.

BLMeeting  BLMeeting2

Partnership Opportunities

Please contact the Regional Economic Development Department if you have questions/suggestions or would like to be involved in the implementation of the strategy.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako
Phone:  (250) 692-3195
Toll Free: 1-800 320-3339