Training program wants employers to work with

Training program wants employers to work with

An innovative program that trains people to work in Grand Erie industry has a new name and expanded focus.

Skills2Advance is the new name for the free program, formerly known as connect2SKILLS, offered by the
Workforce Planning Board of Grand Erie. The expanded focus means people will be trained to work in
manufacturing as well as warehousing-logistics.

We listened to the employers in our community who said they wanted the program to grow to train
people to work in manufacturing, which is our area’s No. 1 employer,” said Danette Dalton, the Workforce
Planning Board’s executive director. “This means we’ll be able to assist more businesses with their HR

Dalton said Skills2Advance is looking for more businesses in both manufacturing and warehousing to
partner with. Companies can use the program at no cost to tap into needed workersto fill vacant positions
at a faster pace and are also eligible for hiring and training incentives, she said.

“Skills2Advance’s additional focus will help more people train to do more work,” said Will Bouma, MPP
for Brantford-Brant. “This means more people ready for manufacturing jobs in Brantford-Brant and we
are glad to support the work done by the Workforce Planning Board of Grand Erie.”

“We need effective training and retraining programs to help people and businesses get back to work,”
said Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development. “As we carefully reopen
our economy, employers need skilled workers. Our government is proud to support programs that help
local workers and job seekers train for new careers.”

The program has a proven track record of training and placing participants in jobs. Eighty per cent of its
81 graduates found placements, which have turned into full time employment opportunities. Local
companies that have participated have included Mabe Canada, Hematite, Patriot Forge, Marco
Corporation, Brimich Logistics and Toyotetsu.

The program includes six weeks of classroom learning – currently adapted to be online – with the
opportunity for participants to have a two-week paid job placement. Students learn about lean
manufacturing, continuous improvement, dispatching, material handling, shipping/receiving and more.

Participants receive certifications in forklift/reach truck, first aid/CPR, and fall arrest. They earn three
college credits through Conestoga College. Brant Skills Centre provides training in essential and soft skills.

Skills2Advance is free to employers and participants. Participants must either be unemployed or under
employed. The Employment Ontario project is funded in part by the Government of Canada and the
Government of Ontario.

For more information about the program, people can email:




Job numbers slow to rebound so far in Brantford

Job numbers slow to rebound so far in Brantford

The gradual economic rebound from COVID-19 hasn’t shown up in the job numbers for Brantford just yet.

An estimated 10,000 Brantford area residents were unemployed in June, according to a Statistics Canada survey conducted mid-month. There was a greater influx in job seekers than jobs, which pushed up the local jobless rate to 12.6%, from 11.3% in May. Norfolk’s jobless rate was 10.2%.

For Canada, employment grew in June by 953,000, dropping the month’s jobless rate to 12.3%, down from 13% in May. Meanwhile, employment grew by an estimated 377,000 in Ontario and the monthly unemployment rate fell to 12.2%.

Each metropolitan area near Brantford also saw their jobless rate climb last month: Hamilton, St. Catharines-Niagara, London, Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo.

“Since mid-June when Statistics Canada conducted its survey, we’ve seen more Brantford area businesses bring people back to work, including manufacturers, retail stores and restaurants that have opened patios,” said Danette Dalton, executive director of the Workforce Planning Board of Grand Erie.

“The pace of recovery may appear slow, but it is underway. We’re optimistic that the job numbers will look better next month.”

The Workforce Planning Board launched a new local job board called Grand Erie Jobs in late June and there is currently about 1,000 active postings.  

The Top-5 positions in demand from Grand Erie employers were retail salespersons, personal support workers, material handlers, transport truck drivers and delivery/courier drivers. About 90% of employer postings were for full-time positions.

Only 60% of users of the Grand Erie Jobs portal were looking for full-time work, with the other 40% searching for part-time or temporary positions. The Top-3 positions searched for matched the most frequently posted jobs: retail salespersons, PSWs and material handlers.


Survey asks what supports local businesses need

Survey asks what supports local businesses need

Local businesses are being urged to speak up about what community supports they need on the road to recovery from COVID-19.

The Grand Erie COVID-19 Recovery: Business Insights Survey targets businesses in Brantford, Six Nations, New Credit, and the counties of Brant, Haldimand and Norfolk.  

The survey, running July 6 to July 31, can be found online: 

The Workforce Planning Board of Grand Erie is spearheading the survey on behalf of the Grand Erie Recovery Task Force, a group of community and business leaders.

“Over the past few months, our regional task force has narrowed in on the biggest issues that our businesses are facing at this time. This survey is designed to understand that impact and obtain employers’ insights into how we can best support them,” said Executive Director Danette Dalton.

“Our goal is to use the survey results to develop strategic responses to the most pressing labour challenges.”

The survey covers four key themes: changes in consumer demand/preferences, workplace safety, skills in-demand and remote working. 

The goal is to hear from at least 350 businesses of all sectors and sizes.  Results will be analyzed and the findings shared publicly in August.

New job search tools to help local job seekers

New job search tools to help local job seekers

Grand Erie job seekers have a powerful new tool to search for local jobs, being launched just as the economy starts to reopen.

Grand Erie Jobs, launched by the Workforce Planning Board, features 500+ local job listings on any day covering all sectors and careers, an interactive map and a career explorer tool.  All jobs shown are located in Brantford, New Credit, Six Nations and the counties of Brant, Haldimand and Norfolk.

Executive Director Danette Dalton said the tool has been in the works since last year, before COVID-19, but the launch was moved up because people need help now.

“The pandemic has hit local residents hard, with thousands losing their jobs or having their hours cut, so there’s a clear need for this,” Dalton said. “Grand Erie Jobs is going to be an essential tool as our economy starts to recover and into the future, connecting job seekers with local employers.”

Danette said Grand Erie Jobs will fill a gap identified by many community organizations and leaders. It has been three years since there last was a local job board, but it didn’t serve the entire Grand Erie area.

Grand Erie Jobs is automated to crawl more than 20 popular national, provincial and local online job sites to find jobs in the area, then puts them in one spot, so job seekers don’t have to search multiple websites. Employers don’t post directly on the website.

The Workforce Planning Board believes the interactive map sets it apart from other job boards.

Users can see and search job postings shown on the map. The map also shows the location of 400+ community services people might use, from employment centres to public transit, child care, libraries and government services.

“The map is designed that way because job seekers may want to know if there is child care, schools or transit near the workplace,” Dalton said. “Other services are listed because residents sometimes need community supports to be successful, whether access to food banks, health services, counselling and more.”

Virtual job fair will feature 19 local employers

Virtual job fair will feature 19 local employers

A virtual job fair will be held June 15 – 18 as a creative way to help employers connect with job seekers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The job fair, taking place via the Zoom online meeting platform, will feature 19 local employers from Brantford, Six Nations, New Credit, and the counties of Brant, Haldimand and Norfolk.

The event has been organized by a dozen community employment and business agencies, including the Workforce Planning Board of Grand Erie.

The job fair will feature employers making 10-minute presentations about their employment needs. Job seekers can watch, ask questions and connect on Zoom, or watch the event via a live YouTube stream.

Participating employers include Mitsui High-Tec, Rassaun Services, Nelson Foods and Securitas.

Job seekers must register in advance to participate and there is a limited number of spots available. For registry information contact any of our partnered organizations for details, and check them out on social media.

The following organizations have partnered to put on the job fair:
Brantford Brant Chamber of Commerce, St Leonard’s Community Services, Community Living Brant, Fanshawe College Community Career and Employment Services, YMCA Skills for Steel, Six Nations Polytechnic, Simcoe Chamber of Commerce, Niagara Peninsula Aboriginal Area Management Board (NPAAMB), Grand River Employment and Training (GREAT), Wilfrid Laurier University, Conestoga College and the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade.

There’s cautious optimism despite job numbers

There’s cautious optimism despite job numbers

Another 1,500 Brantford area residents were out of work in May, as COVID-19 continued to send shockwaves through the economy. Brantford’s jobless rate hit 11.3% in May, up from 9.4% in April, according to estimates released by Statistics Canada Friday. An estimated 8,800 people were out of work last month, almost double from May 2019. However, there are signs that the picture isn’t as bleak as the numbers suggest, according to the Workforce Planning Board of Grand Erie. The board says governments have eased COVID-19 restrictions and more businesses have reopened since the middle of May, when Statistics Canada conducted its local survey. “We may have reached a peak. In Brantford and across our Grand Erie region there are positive signs that people are going back to work and businesses are reopening,” said Executive Director Danette Dalton. “Our local economy and job market still have a long, long way to go, but community organizations and leaders are working hard to make the recovery as fast and smooth as possible.” In May, Brantford saw women, especially young women, impacted the most by job losses, while employment climbed for men in the core working age group of 25-54. Women have been harder hit by pandemic job losses because more women than men work in the service sector. Youth employment continued to fall last month in the area, which is consistent with Canada’s overall numbers. According to Statistics Canada the national unemployment for students returning to school is 40% – triple from a year ago – while it tops 25% for youth who aren’t students.
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