The Ontario government is investing over $2 million to provide over 90 youth in the Niagara Region with free, paid training for high-demand information technology (IT) jobs. Participants will get practical experience by assisting local businesses with their technology-based needs to help them recover by expanding online. This is part of the government’s effort to help those that have been most affected by the pandemic get connected to good local jobs so they can help build our province’s future prosperity.
“Connecting young people with opportunities in technology is vital to kickstarting their careers while helping our shopkeepers and merchants deal with the impacts of COVID-19,” said Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development. “This training program is a win-win for young workers and local businesses looking for help expanding online. This investment meets the challenges of today while training our young workers in the technology of tomorrow.”
The Town of Lincoln is partnering with the non-profit training organization Civiconnect, at a Youth Skills Studio in Beamsville, Ont., to offer at least 90 Niagara-area youth ages 15-29 with 15 weeks of in-class and on-the-job learning. Technical skills taught include IT marketing, web development and systems administration as well as soft job skills such as communication, decision-making and teamwork.
“We will be able to mitigate some of the challenges posed by COVID-19 while contributing to long-term economic development and youth retention in the Town of Lincoln,” said Kailene Jackson, Co-Founder and Director of Programming at Civiconnect. “Bridging the gap between youth and the business community is key to creating the prosperous and inclusive communities of tomorrow.”
The program consists of five weeks of classroom instruction followed by a paid 10-week job placement with one of 75 small to medium-sized businesses in the Town of Lincoln and Niagara Region. The project can also deliver training virtually to individuals who require childcare supports to work from home.
“The pandemic has shown us that businesses are in need of digital innovation and education to ensure their survival and growth in 2021 and beyond,” says Town of Lincoln Mayor Sandra Easton. “This initiative will allow us to support our local businesses in facing this changing COVID-19 landscape, prepare youth for job opportunities and build upon Lincoln’s vision to be a place to grow, prosper and belong.”
While the first wave of training is in progress, additional training is available in sessions taking place September 13 – December 24, 2021, and January 10 – April 22, 2022. Participants are each paid approximately $10,000 during the program.
“The pandemic created significant challenges for accessing the skills and training needed to upgrade our local workforce,” said Sam Oosterhoff, MPP for Niagara West. “Workers and businesses in Ontario and Niagara are some of the most innovative and entrepreneurial in the world. This partnership demonstrates our government’s commitment to working with local partners to build a highly skilled and competitive workforce, and will ensure our province remains the engine of Canada’s economy.”
Funding for the new program comes as part of the government’s $115-million Skills Development Fund to address the challenges of hiring, training and retraining workers as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and is part of the province’s 2021 Budget, Ontario’s Action Plan: Protecting People’s Health and Our Economy.