After a long career at the Jasper Education and Employment Centre (JEEC), outgoing executive director Ginette Marcoux is leaving her work at the top of her game and with the organization in good shape.
She is also leaving it in good hands with incoming executive director Heidi Veluw now at the helm.
“I’ve had a great career,” Marcoux said on Thursday evening after the JEEC’s annual general meeting.
“I think what’s kept me motivated and energized about this is I’m passionate about social justice. Being able to work with workers, to build capacity and empower people to step into new careers . . . has always been super exciting.”
Marcoux has served Jasper through the centre and its work for nearly three decades. That is long enough for her to comment that she feels like a fixture in the building.
“It’s been a great ride to see the Community Learning Centre grow.”
This last year has seen JEEC surge past the post-COVID struggles. One of its most visible successes is its new website – jasperemployment.com – that is connected to its digital job board stationed on the windows at its front entrance at 631 Patricia St.
Employers can post jobs through a form on the website and those openings are inserted onto the job board immediately.
Beyond that, its work helping temporary foreign workers to achieve permanent resident status through the Rural Renewal program is a proud and enduring legacy for the outgoing leader.
With JEEC’s engine chugging along in top gear, Marcoux passed the baton to Veluw.
“I know that she’s going to be a great leader for the organization and take it to new places for service,” Marcoux said. “I’m really looking forward to watching all that unfold.”
“It’s nice to look at a room and I know 80 per cent of the people. Not bad for my first month of work here in Jasper,” Veluw said during her first AGM.
“I’m really enjoying myself here. I hope by next year, I will sound like Ginette . . . who has many years of experience and dedication. I have big shoes to fill.”
Veluw comes to JEEC with her own enduring legacy of service. She comes to Jasper with an English as a second language degree and 35 years of experience in non-profits, the last several of which were on workforce development projects.
Her CV boasts of working with new immigrants, an inner-city drop-in program for homeless seniors, mental health and addictions programs, and career development for women leaving incarceration.
Beyond that, this is not her first time as an executive director.
“I have a really varied resume,” Veluw said. “It’s usually in getting marginalized people and supporting them in some way to help them get their lives better. That’s what I look for in anything I do.”
Scott Hayes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Jasper Fitzhugh