By: The Working Forest Staff
|OSHAWA — The Ontario government is investing nearly $690,000 to train 260 manufacturing workers and apprentices on how to improve productivity, keep them safe on the job and strengthen our supply chains. This program, led by the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters (CME), will help the sector quickly adapt to new challenges, such as the ones brought about by COVID-19.
Details were provided today by Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development, joined by Lorne Coe, MPP for Whitby, and Lindsey Park, MPP for Durham.
“The pandemic has shown us the importance of adapting quickly to meet unexpected challenges,” said Minister McNaughton. “Workers on our assembly lines have demonstrated resiliency and kept factories running so that families can continue to get food for their kids, furniture for their homes, and other necessary items. This investment will help these vital workers gain the skills they need so they can confidently face new challenges and continue to thrive.”
Courses will be offered in-person or virtually, and available to employees in any manufacturing company in the province at no cost. The program aims to connect manufacturing businesses across the province to create peer-to-peer mentorship opportunities through work councils and networking groups so that manufacturing organizations can share knowledge, identify challenges facing the industry and generate solutions.
“Skills deficits and lack of training funding are Ontario manufacturers’ biggest challenges,” said Mathew Wilson, Senior Vice President of Government Relations and Policy, CME. “This government funding will enable CME to deliver free training to manufacturers across Ontario and help them network with other manufacturers through a series of industry peer councils. This partnership between the Government of Ontario and CME will go a long way to alleviating one of manufacturing’s biggest problems.”
The funding comes as part of the government’s $115 million Skills Development Fund. More than 500 applications were received in the first month for this new fund, and a second application round is being planned for later in 2021. The government is working to process all applications for the first round of funding and discuss proposals with applicants.
· The first round of training will begin in early summer. Companies interested can get more information and apply by contacting [email protected].
· Ontario’s manufacturing industry accounted for 11 percent ($78 billion) of Ontario’s real gross domestic product (GDP) in 2020.
· Approximately 11 percent of Ontario workers were employed in the manufacturing sector in 2020. In the fourth quarter of 2020, there were about 17,700 vacancies in Ontario’s manufacturing sector.
· As part of the 2021 Budget, Ontario continues to support workers hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic by investing an additional $614.3 million during 2020–21 and 2021–22 to provide targeted employment and training supports.
“In a rapidly changing economy and manufacturing sector, we need to invest in our local talent to enable workers to compete and adapt. This funding will help make free training available for all workers in the manufacturing sector in Durham and province-wide, starting this summer.”
– Lindsey Park
“The manufacturing industry is a major contributor to the Region of Durham’s economic recovery and growth. This funding will strengthen processes, improve training, increase productivity, and ensure the enhancement of necessary safety measures.”
– Lorne Coe