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Installing windows and helping to rebuild lives, FortisBC set to deliver REnEW training in Kelowna

Aug 8, 2017

Job skills and energy efficiency will combine to create a fresh start for 12 local participants

FortisBC is now accepting applicants for its Residential Energy and Efficiency Works (REnEW) program in Kelowna. The program, now in its eighth year, helps those who have faced barriers to employment gain the skills and certifications required for entry-level construction positions while a local non-profit organization receives energy-efficient upgrades.

“This program gives back in so many ways,” said Danielle Wensink, director, conservation and energy management, FortisBC. “The program provides targeted skill development that contributes to the local economy, helps participants become job-ready and supports a local non-profit in becoming more energy-efficient.”

The initiative is funded by FortisBC and delivered in collaboration with the John Howard Society of the Central & South Okanagan (JHSCSO) who provides suitable program candidates and manages the training delivery.

Through the program, 12 participants receive two weeks of in-class training, delivered at Okanagan College, which includes construction safety-related certifications. It is followed by two weeks of hands-on practice, and for select participants, two weeks of work experience with a local builder. Participants who complete the program are also shown paths to further their education and receive ongoing employment search support through the John Howard Society for up to three months.

This year’s energy efficiency project will take place at a duplex owned and operated by Pathways Abilities Society, a local service organization that helps people with developmental disabilities gain greater independence. REnEW participants will install solar tubes to increase natural light, replace several windows and doors to improve air tightness and energy efficiency and install energy-efficient lighting. The work will help lower energy costs and increase comfort for residents over the long term.

“Our goal is to reconnect people who have faced barriers to the workplace,” said Gaelene Askeland, executive director, JHSCSO. “Ideal candidates are people who have faced some challenges and are ready for an opportunity to grow their skill set in a safe, supportive environment.”

REnEW began in 2010 and since that time, has helped 140 men and women find the confidence needed to pursue work in construction as well as assisted five other non-profit organizations get much needed energy-efficiency upgrades. Local construction firms who would like to mentor selected participants for two weeks are encouraged to contact FortisBC. For more information about REnEW, visit or to apply, call (250) 763-1331 or email [email protected].

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FortisBC is a regulated utility focused on providing safe and reliable energy, including natural gas, electricity and propane. FortisBC employs approximately 2,300 British Columbians and serves approximately 1.1 million customers in 135 B.C. communities. FortisBC owns and operates two liquefied natural gas storage facilities and four regulated hydroelectric generating plants, approximately 7,260 kilometres of transmission and distribution power lines, and approximately 49,000 kilometres of natural gas transmission and distribution pipelines. FortisBC Energy Inc. is a subsidiary of Fortis Inc., a leader in the North American regulated electric and gas utility industry. For further information visit