SkillsAdvance Ontario gives $1.5 M for steel sector training

Essar Hall at Sault College

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Steel sector employers have partnered with Sault College to develop specific curriculum that will help 50 students hone the skills they need to get jobs in the local industry.

The Ontario government has provided almost $1.6 million in funding through the SkillsAdvance Ontario project to provide that training, said Sault MPP Ross Romano, minister of training, colleges and universities.

“By funding projects like these, we’re creating opportunities for 50 people to put their skills to work in good, permanent jobs. I’m proud that our government is investing in people and their potential,” he said at Sault College while making the announcement.

The money will also help employers by providing sector-focused employment services, including job matching and placement, and employment retention services.

Romano said the program is geared at resolving the issues across Ontario where there are people without jobs and jobs without people.

Employers work directly with Sault College to develop specific training to meet the needs of the employers in the steel sector.

“The students will come out of this program on day one directly with the skills they need to enter the workforce,” he said.

Participants will also be able to build transferrable skills for the manufacturing sector.

The program began in September and runs for about 20 weeks.

To date, 19 similar programs have been announced across the province, including in Fort Francis for the forestry sector and in Hamilton for the steel sector.

“I’m exceptionally excited about this funding for this program,” Romano said. “It’s geared towards a meaningful solution to resolve the skilled trade’s gap in this sector.”

Results from the program will be analyzed and it will be determined whether a further application for funding will be approved for future years.

MPP Prabmeet Sarkaria, associate minister of small business and red tape reduction said the funding ensures students have the skills they need to get available jobs of today. The funding also helps employers by reducing unnecessary burden of training, thus making the province more competitive in the global economy.

Romano said this program is critical to employers to address local needs for the future, especially as the aging workforce readies for retirement.

Adam Carpenter, an owner of RF Contracting, said the mechanical contractor services the steel sector across Northern Ontario.

The program helps renew and advance the workforce.

In total, 14 local companies could benefit from the training students receive in the program.