TEXT SIZE: Decrease text size Reset text size Increase text size Print Page

MuskokaONline.com News - #GOTLOCAL

The District is ready to launch the implementation phase of the Muskoka Workforce Project
Get Local News!

The District is ready to launch the implementation phase of the Muskoka Workforce Project

Posted: 2024-05-31 07:54:57 By: thebay

Huntsville General Committee was informed that the District is ready to launch the implementation phase of the Muskoka Workforce Project (MWP), in the May 29, 2024, meeting.

The Town’s Economic and Development Officer, Laren MacDermid, updated the Committee about efforts the MWP has been making and next steps.

In her report, MacDermid indicated that in July 2022 the District and lower-tier municipalities were approved for $70,000 as a collective region for the Rural Economic Development Program (RED) grant.

Each municipality has also agreed to contribute additional funding to raise a total of $100,000 for the project.

The District or “administrator” agreed to contribute $15,000, and the area municipalities, including Huntsville, Bracebridge, Gravenhurst, Lake of Bays, Muskoka Lakes, and Georgian Bay, will each contribute $2,500 each, for the remaining $15,000.

The deadline for use of the grant was December 31, 2023, however, an extension was approved for June 30, 2024.

Since 2022, a Regional Workforce Committee (RWC) was established to develop strategies, initiatives, seek opportunities.

A job board (Muskokajobboard.ca) has also been created, and a position for a Regional Economic Development and Grants officer is in the works to represent the District with implementing the MWS.

According to the staff report, workforce attraction is challenging, given the shortages in the labour market, which impacts employers. It indicates, “Many businesses operate with reduced hours because they simply do not have the staff to cover all the shifts.”

The implementation phase of the MWP will include identifying partnership opportunities, enhancing online resources for job seekers and employers, attraction plans for investors and workers, support employer training events, increase housing availability, enhance transit systems, support immigration partnerships with employment opportunities, and help facilitate connections between students and employers.

The report continues that $5,000 will be included on an annual basis for 2025 and 2026 for each municipality towards implementation. It indicates, “This allocation ensured that staff could begin implementation projects immediately without having to wait until the 2025 municipal budget process.”

The report adds, “Financial implications will be identified in annual work planning and included as part of annual development of the Municipal Budget and Business Plan in 2025 and beyond.”

Mayor, Nancy Alcock, said, “I’m really glad that we’re moving forward as part of the regional effort.”

Councillor, Helena Renwick, inquired about when the District will hire the new co-ordinator for implementation.

MacDermid advised that staff is currently investigating financial implications and will report back with the information.

Councillor, Dione Schumacher, inquired about the deadline for using the RED grant.

MacDermid advised that the workforce strategy and job board has been completed and they are on to the implementation phase.

Councillor, Jason FitzGerald, acknowledged the time and information that has gone into the process. He added, “It’s great that we’re making efforts to correct some of the issues that we have.”