While the industrial sector enjoys a boom in northeastern Ontario, there continues to be a bust when it comes to finding skilled labour in the region.

Robert Brouillette the general manager for City Welding, said he can't fill the positions from the pool of local job seekers.

"All business owners, when we get together for business meetings … we're all talking about the same thing," he said. "How do we find people?"

Brouillette, who is also an immigration lawyer, is hiring internationally. His firm hired 15 workers from foreign countries in the last five years.

Difficulty attracting students

But Brouillette is also helping to train workers locally, to help boost the numbers of skilled trades workers. He sits on advisory committees at Cambrian College and College Boreal and is a board member with the Ontario Young Apprenticeship program. Both colleges offer trades programs, but say they have difficulty attracting students.

It’s a frustrating situation that is pushing business managers like Brouillette to cast their hiring nets much further.

"Every week I get at least a phone call or I run in to someone looking to hire foreign workers, because they can't find the skilled trades here in Sudbury," Brouillette said.

The international call for skilled trades workers was a boon to Nicu Oprisa, who moved to Sudbury five years ago to work for City Welding. He said if he was still back home in Romania, he would probably be jobless.

"I think it's not that easy now," Oprisa. "[There’s] not too much to do now there."