Recognizing the increasing diversity in the South Okanagan Similkameen, SOICS initiated a two-part project funded provincially by the Welcoming & Inclusive Communities & Workplaces Program in 2009-2010. The first step was to promote Knowledge Development through an extensive study of current services and successful practices to encourage Welcoming and Inclusive Communities and Workplaces. The project identified gaps in services for newcomers to promote their full inclusion and participation in the communities of the South Okanagan Similkameen. It went on to successfully identify successful programs/initiatives on the topics of cultural diversity/multiculturalism and workplace diversity/cultural competence forming a model for future initiatives.
Equipped with these research findings, SOICS commenced part two of the project involving Public Education. Acknowledging gaps, SOICS identified best practices and successful programming to support newcomers in the region. This information was disseminated through the publishing of its Welcoming & Inclusive Communities Employer Toolkit and a series of diversity training sessions to local organizations and community stakeholders.