FutureSSM is working closely with local employers, educational institutions, training organizations and employment agencies to take on a coordinated approach to address current skilled-labour demands in Sault Ste. Marie.
At 4.7 per cent in February, and as low as 3.3 per cent this past December, Sault Ste. Marie’s unemployment rate is the lowest it has been in 20 years. Recent discussion with a number of local employers revealed concerns about finding enough workers with required skillsets to fill professional and/or high-volume positions.
To help address these concerns, FutureSSM is taking on several innovative projects to connect Saultites to local opportunities, align students and educational programs with local jobs of the future, investigate training programs with local partners and attract skilled workers to the community.
One of the key projects that FutureSSM is working on is a long-term plan, ‘R3: Sault Ste. Marie’, which lays out a series of goals and action plans to: 1)Retain youth, 2) Recruit newcomers and, 3) Repatriate Saultites that have left the community.
High skilled positions available in the community include speech language pathologists, machinists, welders, civil and mechanical engineers, professors, software developers, HR professionals, financial analysts, marketing specialists, registered nurses, and aircraft maintenance engineers. This list is not exhaustive, and has been compiled based on discussions with employers with hard to fill and high volume positions as well as highlighting professional opportunities for youth.
“We need skilled employees to fill the job vacancies that exist now and will exist in the near future,” said Mayor Christian Provenzano. “The City is actively addressing our labour force challenges through FutureSSM by making quality of life investments in our community and helping employers find the talent they need in the short and long term.”
As part of this coordinated approach, nine employers will join FutureSSM in Toronto and Mississauga next week (April 16 and 17) to participate in two career fairs designed to recruit high-skilled newcomers and repatriate Saultites who have left, to fill positions in Sault Ste. Marie. As of today, 250 people have registered for these events, indicating a high level of interest.
Other employers who were not able to make the event in person will also be participating by providing job descriptions that will be available at a booth hosted by FutureSSM.
“The FutureSSM team has been working closely with employers in the community and in active discussions with stakeholders to develop a sound labour force strategy,” said Tom Vair, Deputy CAO, Community Development and Enterprise Services. “Our community has some tremendous assets and opportunities and ensuring we address labour force needs across a number of fronts will enable business and community growth.”
FutureSSM will be promoting Sault Ste. Marie’s work-life balance, affordability, short commute times and exceptional recreational opportunities. For more information on the career fairs and available jobs, click here.
FutureSSM is looking to address labour shortages both in the immediate sense, and in the long term. At 45.7, Sault Ste. Marie’s median age is five years older than the Ontario average of 40.4. In the coming years, there will be approximately 1.5 times as many people leaving the workforce then there are available to enter it. With over a quarter of Sault Ste. Marie’s workforce older than 55, local employers will be looking to replace almost 9,000 workers in the coming years.