About the Local Workforce Planning Board
Workforce WindsorEssex operates as the local workforce planning board for the Windsor-Essex region. Local Workforce Planning Boards are independent not-for-profit corporations sponsored by the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development (MLTSD) to improve the condition of the labour market in their specified region of Ontario.
Each year many projects are undertaken to support jobseekers, students, employers, educators, and service providers in our community.
2022-23 Current Projects Include:
Project: Local Labour Market Plan Report
The organization will develop an action plan with a 3-year outlook for the community, based on stakeholder consultations. The report will include an update on actions noted in the previous community plan. The report will be released at a virtual action planning event with community stakeholders.
There is a current pressing need for up to date information on the local labour market and initiatives in place to serve those in need. Updated data collected will improve the community’s understanding of varying needs in the community, considering needs that are present due to the current COVID-19 pandemic impacting Windsor-Essex and the previous economic and social challenges affecting local jobseekers, students, service providers, employers, educators, and government representatives. The data collected will also contribute to decisions made in organizing a coordinated response considering the needs of the workforce and the challenges and opportunities present in the rapidly-evolving labour market.
The Local Labour Market Plan report will be developed and released to the community. Following the report’s release, an action planning event will be hosted to determine stakeholders in the community that are willing to take on relevant challenges and identify partners in the community to work together to address issues in our community.
Past reports can be viewed here.
To improve understanding of the needs of local employers, an employer survey will be conducted to gather up to date information, including anticipated hiring, skills gaps, recruitment barriers, and needed business supports, from employers in Windsor-Essex. Survey findings, including an interactive report, infographic, and written summary will be shared.
The up to date findings that they survey will provide will contribute to the Local Labour Market Plan and to the planning board’s work overall. The findings, once shared with the public, will also support the need for updated information by stakeholders in the community, including economic development organizations, educational institutions, industry associations, and municipal governments.
Past survey results can be viewed here.
Skilled Trades Careers for Newcomers
A recruitment strategy report will be developed to recommend strategies that employers and employment staff and newcomer jobseekers can use to better connect and increase meaningful employment in the skilled trades.
As of 2016, almost 1 in 3 trade certificate holders were aged 55 or older, likely nearing retirement. BuildForce Canada also notes that the Ontario construction industry will need over 100,000 additional workers to fill retirement gaps and growth in the industry. As many newcomers have relevant experience when they arrive in Canada, as a recent Workforce WindsorEssex survey noted 15% of responding newcomers had skilled trades experience, they are a great fit to fill the talent pool for local employers.
With apprenticeship registrations and completions remaining stagnant and low over the last few years in Windsor-Essex, more needs to be done to ensure that those interested in working in the trades are encouraged and supported to do so. With both a skills shortage and high newcomer unemployment rates, there are likely disconnects between newcomer jobseekers, employment support staff, and employers looking to hire. Identifying where there are disconnects, and how they can be removed, will ensure that newcomers have opportunities for meaningful employment in the trades and are able to use past skills and work experience as well.
Virtual Sector Events
To fill the gap in experiential learning events such as Manufacturing Day or Educator Tour Day, and to continue the success gained from previous virtual events, virtual learning events will be hosted for various promising sectors across the region, including manufacturing, health care, construction, and ICT. The learning events for each sector will consist of various speakers from different positions speakers will share their career journey, highlighting skill and education requirements, typical job duties, and advice for getting into the sector. A sector profile handout will be created for each sector highlighted.
With experiential learning opportunities continuing to be unavailable to many students, job seekers, and career changers, there remains a need for virtual career learning experiences. As employment staff and educators look to provide unique career preparation experiences in a virtual landscape, employers are changing how they interact with potential and future employees. These events will allow audience members to hear from a variety of employees in each sector, with the opportunity to ask questions throughout the session to learn more about, and gain interest in, the sector. Not only do the events provide a learning experience for those exploring different careers, it can act as a connection to industry for those ready to enter the workforce. With a focus on promising sectors in the community, the sessions may focus on healthcare, manufacturing, construction, education, and art sectors. Each sector profile created will be shared during the event with attendees, and will be shared with the recorded sessions on our site. Sector profiles will highlight demand for the sector, education and training opportunities, and historical hiring trends for the sector.
Remote Work in our Community
A Remote Work report will be developed to dispel myths about the innovative work strategy, how local employers can implement the change, and how employees can remain productive in their home/work setting.
While provincial government continues to promote work-from-home opportunities for workers where possible, some employers and employees are still not supportive due to believed limitations for productivity. However, there is much research showing the productivity levels of staff increasing when in WFH settings. With many myths surrounding remote work opportunities, employees may feel that their work setting and associated supports has been a temporary solution not designed for long-term use.
Based on findings from a recent survey, approximately 75% of responding local employees felt positive changes since working remotely, 84% noting they would like to continue working remotely. 73% of respondents said that remote work options would entice them to apply to job postings. While many employers are unsure of the benefits of remote work, or feel unprepared to offer them long-term, there is a misalignment that could lead to reduced retention and potentially affect future recruitment.
In the developed remote work report, questions and challenges posed by employers will be addressed, with links to external resources included regarding policy changes, overall benefits to productivity, and how to recruit and retain remote staff. Research will be gathered from across the province to create a literature review, as well as address perspectives and research conducted locally.
The Local Gig Economy
A research report will be developed to identify the benefits and challenges of working in the gig economy, which occupations and sectors are best supported by gig workers, and how gig work can be a successful and a long-term career path.
As the pandemic continues, many negative impacts have been felt by those classified as ‘gig workers’. Those self-employed, often contracted by other companies or individuals to provide a niche service. This may include, graphic designers, wedding videographers, or sound technicians. As of July 2021, 1 in 10 employed Canadians are gig workers and over a third of Canadian employers have gig workers on-staff. For those working in tourism, recreation, or entertainment, the impacts resulting from provincial restrictions have created both short- and long-term effects for their businesses. However, as a working group that many are unfamiliar with, with much ‘gig’ work being done behind-the-scenes, there is a lack of business supports and community services to serve their needs and address their challenges.
Through the developed research report, we plan to identify the benefits and challenges of working in the gig economy, which occupations and sectors are best supported by gig workers, and how gig work can be a successful and a long-term career path. Different occupations will be identified as strong gig positions, with interviews conducted from local gig workers to learn about their career experience. Strategies for success as a gig worker will be developed, as well as recommendations for how the local business community can better incorporate and support ‘gig workers’ based on worker consultations.
Tashlyn Teskey, Manager of Projects & Research: firstname.lastname@example.org