From our Board of Directors and staff:
The Workforce Planning Board of Grand Erie wishes everyone a happy and healthy New Year.
The year 2022 starts with a strong sense of déjà vu.
Resilience was a key buzz word last year and it will remain important again this year.
As we come up to 2 years of dealing with a global COVID-19 pandemic, we’ll need to be resilient as our communities continue progress towards a recovery.
Workers and businesses have adapted well to change, again and again, coping with the many ups and downs: lockdowns, new workplace safety rules, working from home, layoffs, and business closures.
Job market rebounds
Despite all the changes and challenges, the local economy and job market largely rebounded in 2021. Overall employment returned later in the year to pre-pandemic levels. Many businesses had trouble filling job openings. Labour shortages are expected to continue this year and beyond.
Some residents and businesses have yet to land firmly back on their feet. They will need additional support moving forward. Fortunately, our communities have lots of services that can help.
The Workforce Planning Board looks forward to continuing to serve the communities of Brantford, Six Nations of the Grand River, Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation, Brant, Haldimand and Norfolk.
Our goal, as always, is to help individuals, businesses and our communities to thrive. Our vision for this year and for the future is to help build a “skilled, resilient workforce contributing to dynamic communities.”
During 2021, we’re proud that several important community-building projects moved forward.
- Grand Erie Jobs: We expanded our popular jobs portal. We now have 8 tools to assist local job seekers and businesses. It is now easier for job seekers to find jobs, learn what occupations are in demand, and research businesses. We produced how-to videos demonstrating each of the tools. Visit Grand Erie Jobs and our YouTube channel.
- Work-Life Balance Study: We heard from 500+ residents about their experiences trying to achieve a balance between their work and home lives. The study has given us insights into issues such as burnout, workplace stress, challenges working from home, and more. Our study contains a number of recommendations to improve things. See highlights from the study.
- Workforce Strategy: We worked on a strategy that will help give youth the soft and hard skills that are needed for the future of work. The main goals are to educate parents, teachers and youth about local businesses and make them aware of available job opportunities and the skills needed for the future of work. Work continues on implementing this strategy in 2022.
- Skills2Advance: We trained dozens of residents for new jobs and careers in manufacturing and warehousing, helping meet the strong demand from companies for Material Handlers. It’s satisfying to see Skills2Advance graduates achieving success. Visit Skills2Advance.
- Marketing: We put extra emphasis on outreach and marketing, so that more people can know about the many resources and services we provide the community. We published stories and social media posts celebrating essential workers and interesting businesses.
- Job fairs and recruitment: We worked with community partners and businesses on events that helped recruit new people.
We plan on an equally busy 2022.
This month, we will be launching a new online tool called Workforce Gateway. It is a one-stop source for information about workforce, business, education and community services. Users will be able to access information about services near them by answering a few simple questions.
There will be helpful information about dozens of subjects, such as:
- Where to find an employment counsellor that can help with a job search or career planning
- Where to find information about government loans and grants to start or grow a businesses
- Where to find transit routes, schools or daycares in relation to the location of jobs
- Where to look for financial assistance to help pay for college or university
- Where individuals and businesses can find information about apprenticeships and skilled trades
We look forward in 2022 to using our expertise and energy to build a stronger community that benefits all.