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Opportunities available in Sault construction sector, MPP says

Nearly $2 million for skills training program will prepare over 100 people for construction sector jobs
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Sault MPP Ross Romano announced Friday the Ontario government is investing $1,180,948 in a skills training project to prepare 104 people for careers in the construction sector.

The project is designed to break down employment barriers for those looking for entry level construction jobs, as well as helping those already on the ground level in the industry move up the ladder.

Through the SkillsAdvance Ontario program, the Sault Community Information and Career Centre will work with the Sault Ste. Marie Construction Association to provide necessary skills training.

‘Jobseeker training’ will develop the skills needed for entry level construction professionals.

Described as an intensive, eight week program to give participants industry-recognized certification and credentials, it is followed by a two week job placement. 

‘Incumbent worker training’ will prepare current employees for senior level positions such as site supervisors and project managers.

“I am very excited that this short-term training program will be available to people and businesses in Sault Ste. Marie,” Romano stated in a release.

The program is described as a way to get 104 Saultites, some of them displaced by job loss due to the economic impact of COVID-19, to get back to work.

“Sault Ste. Marie’s construction sector continues to experience a challenge in finding the workers it needs with the right skills at the right time,” said Karol Rains, Sault Community Information and Career Centre executive director, who welcomed Friday’s funding announcement as good news for the centre’s Build this City: Construction Fundamentals Training Program.

“We’ve been really fortunate in the last year to have done a one-year pilot of this program where we saw some tremendous opportunity for continued long term success, continued assistance to local employers to bring entry level people into the construction industry and give them some of the training opportunities and experiential opportunities that not everybody gets in being able to get into the trades,” said Adam Pinder, Sault Ste. Marie Construction Association executive director.

“We’ve now developed this program that we look forward to running over the next two years to give people the opportunity to learn some fundamental skills and develop them and get ready to go and launch a career in construction,” Pinder said.

Curriculum for the project was developed in conjunction with area employers.

45 people took part in last year’s pilot project, Romano said, pointing to the increased number of spaces to 104 as a sign opportunities in the construction sector are out there. 

“I remember, growing up as a young person, wanting to pursue a career in trades,” Romano said.   

“It’s an area that, for a lot of people out there, there was for some reason a discouragement level, but it is such an exceptional career...to all the young people out there looking for great opportunities and to any displaced workers out there, there are awesome, incredible, outstanding opportunities for you in the trades,” the MPP said.

Romano urged those interested to contact the Sault Community Information and Career Centre, Sault Ste. Marie Construction Association or his constituency office for more information about the program.    

Funding for this project is included in $180.5 million, over three years, in the province’s 2020 Budget Ontario’s Action Plan: Protect, Support, Recover, to help workers affected by the pandemic retrain and upgrade their skills to find employment.