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Ontario unveils “visionary funding” to support workers and apprentices

February 5, 2021 | By Anthony Capkun

James Barry, December 2019 © IBEW-CCO

February 5, 2021 – Applications are now open for the Ontario government’s new two-year, $115-million Skills Development Fund, which was specifically designed to address the challenges brought on by Covid “to help reduce obstacles to hiring, training and retaining while preparing workers for the province’s economic recovery”.

“It is essential we strategically manage and prepare for the future,” said James Barry, IBEW-CCO. “This visionary funding announcement by Minister McNaughton provides support for innovative and effective training approaches that are critical to helping our members continue to contribute to a dynamic and well-trained workforce essential to fueling Ontario’s economic recovery.”

The Skills Development Fund will accept applications from a range of employment and training organizations in Ontario, focusing 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
• supporting the talent needs of small businesses

“[The fund] will lead to fresh and creative ideas to help get people back on the job and kick-start our communities,” said Minister Monte McNaughton. “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.”

Applicants, including employers, apprenticeship training delivery agents, unions, post-secondary institutions, community organizations and others can now submit proposals beginning today, until February 28, 2021.

A second round of projects is planned to provide an additional $15 million in the Spring.

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