Proposed changes to Ottawa's funding of job training will make it harder for some of the most marginalized in P.E.I. to get the skills they need to enter the workforce, says Women's Network PEI.
'The Canada Job Grant will ensure that skills training leads to a guaranteed job.' - Nick Koolsbergen, Human Resource Development Canada
Ottawa and the provinces are working on a new deal to redirect millions of dollars that are now available to help Canadians with low levels of literacy and few job skills. Some of that money would go toward the new Canada Job Grant program, where employers would sponsor workers for training that leads directly to a new job.
Sara Roach-Lewis, executive director of Women's Network PEI, believes many Islanders will be bypassed under the new plan.
"You can provide technical training for someone, but frankly if they are battling an addiction or don't have their grade 12, we really need to support people to address some of those soft skills as well as the hard skills," said Roach-Lewis.
In an email to CBC News, Nick Koolsbergen, director of communications in the office of Human Resource Development Minister Jason Kenney, said there are other federal programs that can provide training for marginalized members of the workforce, and the goal for the Canada Job Grant is different.
"The Canada Job Grant will ensure that skills training leads to a guaranteed job," said Koolsbergen.
"It also reflects the fact that employers know better than governments what training needs to exist."
Koolsbergen said the federal government is reviewing the provinces' counter proposal, and is hopeful an agreement can be reached.