TORONTO — A new two-year, $115 million Skills Development Fund introduced by the Ontario Government aims to support workers and apprentices by addressing the challenges brought on by COVID-19 and helping to reduce obstacles to hiring, training and retaining.
Applications will be accepted from a wide range of employment and training organizations in Ontario with a focus on giving laid-off workers immediate access to training supports or new jobs; improving the quality of training; reaching out to traditionally underrepresented groups; increasing apprentice registrations and completion; better serving local communities; and supporting the talent needs of small businesses.
According to a release, examples of projects from the fund could include a digital career fair that allows employers to connect with jobseekers impacted by COVID-19; mentorship programs and career counselling for apprentices while they are training on-the-job; the creation of training materials that teach employers how to accommodate employees who have disabilities; and making workspaces and equipment more accessible.
Proposals from employers, apprenticeship training delivery agents, unions, post-secondary institutions, community organizations and others can be submitted until Feb. 28.
Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development Monte McNaughton said the fund “will lead to fresh and creative ideas to help get people back on the job and kick-start our communities. My message to workers is clear — there is hope and opportunity around the corner. I’m calling on everyone – businesses, union leaders and training providers – to submit your ideas and participate in our economic recovery.”
Skills Ontario CEO Ian Howcroft said the government is demonstrating leadership and innovation which will help thousands of individuals move forward in their careers and make a meaningful contribution to the success of the province and their own lives.
“It is crucial to ensure that Ontarians are supported while they pursue their careers, and Skills Ontario applauds the inclusion of employers, apprenticeship training delivery agents, and more, in this project,”said Howcroft in a statement
“The pandemic has had an enormous impact on everyone, but particularly those who have lost work and employment opportunities. This new fund will help address this by offering assistance and support – it’s an important step on our road to economic recovery.”