The Owens Corning Foundation announced that it is investing $200,000 to support the national delivery and expansion of Conestoga College’s Jill of All Trades program.

Delivered through the college’s School of Trades & Apprenticeship and the School College Work Initiative since 2014, Jill of All Trades welcomes young women in Grades 9 through 12 for a full day of hands-on workshops focused on skilled trades. Led by female mentors, the event is designed to help young women explore the potential of skilled trades careers. The investment from the Owens Corning Foundation will support the delivery of the program by Conestoga at more locations across the country.

“We greatly appreciate the investment made by the Owens Corning Foundation to bring the Jill of All Trades program to more young women across Canada,” said Conestoga President John Tibbits. “The initiative helps create awareness of the opportunities that exist and advocates for women in non-traditional roles to diversify the workforce and help address the shortage of skilled trades workers.”

Established in 1978 to support the communities Owens Corning employees work and live in across the globe, the Owens Corning Foundation seeks to make a significant impact in areas of critical need, including educational opportunities.

“At Owens Corning, we are passionate about impacting the world and creating meaningful change. We believe that the foundation of success for young women is rooted in exposing them early and often to opportunities that they might not have otherwise considered,” said Asha Burry, Human Resources Leader for Owens Corning Canada. “Our team in Canada is thrilled to have the support of the OC Foundation to provide opportunities for young women to explore alternative career paths. The Jill of All Trades program aligns with our efforts around educational opportunity and our focus on inclusion and diversity.”

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A growing skills gap has emerged as the demand to keep pace with population growth and changing workforce demographics increases. Reports indicate more than 700,000 skilled tradespeople are set to retire by 2028. Canada needs more than 167,000 new apprentices alone to keep pace. According to Statistics Canada, women account for roughly four per cent of workers in under-represented skilled trades occupations.

Conestoga is a provincial leader in the delivery of trades and apprenticeship training to serve industry needs and growing communities. Comprehensive programming includes a wide range of programs that provide pathways to employment in skilled trades careers as well as pre-apprenticeship training and in-school training for apprentices.

Featured image: (JOAT/Conestoga College)

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