The Government of Ontario announced an investment of $224 million to build and upgrade training centres to help tackle the province’s labour shortage.

Applications for the new Skills Development Fund (SDF) Capital Stream open on June 30. It will help unions, Indigenous centres, and industry associations with funding to build new training centres, or upgrade and convert existing facilities into new training centres with state-of-the-art equipment and technology.

“This new program will help boost the province’s training infrastructure, providing more people opportunities to learn new skills and advance their careers into good-paying, in-demand jobs,” said Premier Doug Ford. “We’re taking the steps needed to create a bigger pipeline of talent to ensure we continue to have the best workforce in the world to keep attracting investments and to build Ontario.”

Every day, roughly 300,000 jobs are going unfilled in Ontario, costing the province billions in lost productivity. The new capital stream will be open to a wide range of applicants in in-demand industries and support facility expansions, renovations, repairs and retrofits, and new building construction. Over their lifetime, these improved training centres are projected to help more than one million workers get the training they need to land better jobs and ensure businesses can find the skilled workforce they need to grow the economy for everyone.

“Ontario is facing the largest labour shortage in a generation, and our government is on a mission to help workers train for the well-paying jobs we know are available,” said Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development. “We will continue to invest in innovative training programs and ground-breaking infrastructure to prepare jobseekers in every corner of our province for the future of work.”

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In addition, the Ontario government is investing $535,000 through the SDF program to launch two innovative projects that will expand apprenticeship opportunities to future boilermakers in Northern Ontario and across the province. Led by the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers Local 128, these free programs will provide 1,350 participants with the opportunity to explore rewarding careers as boilermakers, which can pay up to $38 an hour.

“Our government is proud to invest in new funding to build, upgrade and convert training centres across the province. Investing in these training centres is crucial to building a stronger Ontario by getting workers trained and into the workforce,” said Kinga Surma, Minister of Infrastructure. “By empowering individuals with the skills and knowledge to master their crafts, we are creating a future of innovation, and economic prosperity. As we continue to invest in critical infrastructure, these trained workers will be helping build Ontario for generations to come.”

The first project will give 1,200 high-school students hands-on experience with welding, cutting and rigging work and the opportunity to pursue apprenticeships in the trade. It will prioritize women, Indigenous people and others in rural Northern Ontario communities interested in learning about work in the skilled trades.

“To meet the demand for skill trades in the province, it is vital that we develop the skills and abilities of those individuals that are interested in a career within the trades, which is our mission with these projects,” said Jonathan White, International Representative – CSO at International Brotherhood of Boilermakers. “The International Brotherhood of Boilermakers commends the tremendous decision of the Ontario government to further invest in the trades through their Capital Stream of the Skills Development Fund, which will add to and improve training centres that will be used to build the highly skilled workforce needed to support Ontario’s infrastructure and to expand opportunities within industry.”

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The second project will provide free lodging, travel and food for 150 new jobseekers from around the province as they begin introductory apprenticeship training. Participants will complete rigorous course work covering rigging, working at heights and construction safety as they prepare to become boilermaker apprentices.

These two projects are funded through the existing SDF, an over $700 million initiative, which supports ground-breaking programs that connect jobseekers with the skills and training they need to find well-paying careers close to home.

Featured image: (Government of Ontario)

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