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Province wants more people in skilled trades

Nipissing MPP Vic Fedeli believes that now is the time to get into the skilled trades.

“This is exactly the type of career that people should be aspiring to,” Fedeli said “They’re unbelievably high-paying jobs.”

The Ontario government has pledged $180.5 million dollars to connect those who lost their jobs in the tourism and hospitality sectors to the training they need to get into the trades.

According to the provincial government, the pandemic most affected people between the ages of 15 and 24 and women in the hospitality sector.

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For sectors involving the skilled trades, such as manufacturing, Fedeli says now is the time to get involved.

“We have 11,500 more people working in manufacturing this morning than we did pre-COVID. While our economy is stabilizing and we see employment rise and become more stable, it’s manufacturing that’s increased exponentially,” he explained.

However, the demographic identified as the most hard-hit by the pandemic are also the most hesitant to get into the trades, which is something Fedeli is hoping to address.

“We want to end the stigma of skilled trades,” he noted. “Every generation wants their kids to do better than they did. And for many of them, they visualize it as a path through university and some sort of career. But for the majority of them, it never included the skilled trades.”

The money is part of Ontario’s recovery plan for COVID-19. It includes a skilled trades strategy, an additional $100 million of dedicated investments through Employment Ontario for skills training, a redesigned Second Career program, and $59.5 million to acquire in-demand skills.

Fedeli adds the Ontario government created 300,000 manufacturing jobs in February before the pandemic, of which only 50,000 were filled.

At a different announcement on Monday, Fedeli was joined by five North Bay-area companies who all aimed to hire more skilled workers using new provincial money.

“Of all the companies that were there, finding trained employees is a challenge for them,” Fedeli recalled.
Canadore College President, George Burton, has already expressed his approval of the new fund when the Ontario budget was released last week.

“It is only through ongoing investments in workforce training and applied learning that we will ensure a strong Ontario,” stated Burton.

The Ontario government says between June and October, employment has risen by over 868,000 jobs.

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