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, Immigration, Training and Skills Development (MLITSD) 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.

2023-24 Current Projects

The organization will develop an action plan with a 3-year outlook for the community, based on partner 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 partners.

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 partners 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.

The organization will develop a series of events designed to bring students, community partners, and educational institutions in Windsor-Essex together to illustrate the skills needed and opportunities available to enter the workforce. These events will include panels and workshops that cover a wide spectrum of industries and open discussions between these partners and students in attendance. From the findings of these events, the organization will develop a new From School To Work – Your Job Search guide online. This guide will provide revamped job search tools, direction to community and employment supports, and in-demand highlights. To better promote in-demand careers locally, industry tours for the available and future workforce will be organized to get hands-on exposure of different sectors in our region.

Labour shortages have become increasingly difficult for employers in Windsor-Essex. With increased retirement rates leading to a need to fill positions across all sectors, students entering the workforce after completing their studies are a solution to these shortages. However, this transition has not been a simple one. Many local employers have remarked that this incoming labour force has skill gaps that prevent them from being able to satisfy their staffing demands, specifically in the realm of soft skills and critical thinking skills. Despite the participation rate of workers aged 15 years or older increasing, employers feel that without these skills on a wider scale in those entering the workforce, staffing issues will only continue.
On the other hand, those entering the workforce from school have their own perspective. Whether they are high school or post-secondary students, these incoming workers often feel unprepared for the nuances of working jobs that involve the skills outside ones they have learned through curricula, such as soft skills. These workers, despite their enthusiasm, are discouraged when they are eager to seek employment but are unable to upskill or be further guided by coworkers.

To support those entering the workforce for the first time, an online guide will be developed to provide strategies on improving soft skills, workplace and professional skills, and job search support. Additionally, information sessions will be held to allow participants to ask questions and further develop their skills with interactive activities.

Many youth and jobseekers are unaware of the full potential for long-standing careers that exists in Windsor-Essex, leading to our region having the highest unemployment in the country for many months in recent years.  To encourage students and job seekers to participate in experiential learning opportunities, a Career Explore Day will be organized with educators and service providers so that students and jobseekers can be shown in-demand jobs while touring local businesses actively hiring. The event will allow participants to meet employers, ask questions, and see what the workplace looks like in different sectors across the region.

A research report will be developed to improve understanding of how a regional transition to a green economy will affect Windsor-Essex, including an exploration into potential green jobs, employer and community participation in green initiatives, and local educational programs related to the green economy.

Climate change is an ongoing issue, nationally and beyond. As Canada has committed to reducing their carbon emissions by 40 to 45% below 2005 levels by 2030 and achieving net-zero by 2050, multiple green initiatives have been adopted to meet these goals. As a result, the Canadian economy will experience a major transformation as we shift away from carbon and move towards renewables. Since 2016, the government has invested an estimated $100 billion in clean energy and climate action, and an assessment of economic growth by Clean Energy Canada found that the number of jobs in clean energy is expected to grow by 50% by 2030.

Since the manufacturing industry accounts for over 30% of Windsor-Essex’s workforce, we can expect to see major transformations in the local workforce as investments in renewables increase in our area. Windsor-Essex has been a recent recipient in clean energy investment with Stellantis investing $3.6 billion in their Windsor and Brampton plants to begin retooling and manufacturing electric vehicles. The company is also adding 650 engineering jobs, green jobs, to build a lab dedicated to EV research. Additionally, St Clair College has developed programs to support students who are interested in working in this thriving sector.

Apart from the manufacturing industry, Windsor-Essex is taking its own strides to invest in green energy. In August 2022, the City of Windsor committed to a $2.4 million investment to shift 12 local facilities to renewable energy consumption through the installation of new solar photovoltaic (PV) systems. These kinds of initiatives are furthering the development of a green economy locally and increasing green jobs in the area. Improving our understanding of what a green economy entails, now and in the future, will help us to determine how the local workforce will be affected and the needs of community partners to support this change.

To support a growing EV sector, an online resource will be created to highlight career pathways within the sector. The career pathways will also highlight transferable skills for individuals currently employed in internal combustion vehicle production roles and how they can transition to roles in the EV sector. Lastly, the online resource will identify training gaps for educational institutions to consider when developing new, and modifying existing, programming.

Windsor will soon be home to a $4.9 billion battery plant, helping the region claim its position as the automobility capital of Canada. This investment promises to be a significant economic generator and create thousands of jobs. The federal government has also mandated that one fifth of all passenger cars, SUVs, and trucks sold in Canada will need to be EVs by 2026. In 2030, the mandate will hit 60% of all sales and by 2035 all new passenger vehicle sales in Canada will be EVs.

Many automotive manufacturers and suppliers in the Windsor-Essex region will be transitioning from classic internal combustion vehicle production to EV production to meet increased demand for EVs. This means that the current automotive labour force will change. Windsor-Essex is well positioned to transition existing current automotive sector employees into EV sector roles by identifying transferable skills sets and upskilling opportunities. Workers in the EV sector should be made aware of career pathways that will become available as soon as possible, so they have enough time to consider their existing skillsets or upskilling that will help them transition into new roles in the changing sector. The proposed online resource will provide crucial information to help prepare existing automotive workers for a transition into EV roles.

The online resource will also help secondary and post-secondary school students identify curriculum and programs that will lead to lucrative career paths in the EV sector. This will help secure a future talent pool to fill jobs created as a result of the EV sector’s expected rapid expansion.

A comprehensive report will be developed to showcase career profiles of in-demand positions in the ICT sector, provide a needs assessment on the current state of enrollment and hiring in the industry, and share employer recruitment and retention strategies to help mitigate the ‘brain drain’ problem plaguing the tech sector.

Windsor employs 4.1% of Canada’s technology talent and is ranked number 7 of the top 10 cities in Canada with technology degree completions, awarding over 1000 degrees annually. Despite awarding high numbers of degrees in technologies, employers in the region have noted that retaining graduates from these programs is difficult as many graduates migrate to technology hubs such as Waterloo-Kitchener and the Greater Toronto Area.

Through the developed research report, we plan to showcase current and future in-demand career profiles in the tech sector, what the current local landscape looks like for graduates and employers, and provide recommendations to support the sector to attract and retain candidates.

This report will include data collected through employer consultations, student surveys, and other secondary sources.

Past Local Board Projects


Project Contact:

Tashlyn Teskey, Manager of Research Projects: tteskey@workforcewindsoressex.com