Windsor Votes: The Citizen's Agenda: Rose Anguiano Hurst
Rose Anguiano Hurst has been the Executive Director of Women's Enterprise Skills Training of Windsor for the last 15 years. She lives in Amherstburg.
What are the biggest issues municipal candidates need to address to move our city in the right direction?
I would say employment. We often hear about employment and talk about the recession. And then when we look at people that are unemployed I think there are two levels of the unemployed - those that already have skills and those that have underemployed skills - they still lack training. They still need assistance.
What ideas do you have about how to address these issues?
[Council] really need[s] to make sure that they communicate with business to not only give individuals the opportunities that have the skills but help build the infrastructure of those that are looking for work. If they could help send the message forward that we need to train for the future as well. That there are other generations coming forward that are gonna need to take over those positions. We need to train the whole segment of the workforce.
What do you think Windsor's strengths, weaknesses and opportunities are? What threatens Windsor?
Strengths: Living next to the border, people always talk about that as a strength. And our geographic location as a major trading partner with the U.S..
Weaknesses: Some round tables that I'm on and, looking at the needs of our participants, I think there's some work that can be done in terms of strengthening our regional transportation system. That way, maybe we would reduce the number of cars on the road but we would improve our public transit system and the number of people that participate in that.
A lot of the jobs that we see are in the farther regions of the city, like often on the east side, or other areas of the county. For a lot of our clients that still live within the downtown core, getting out to those areas is a bit of a challenge for them.
Opportunities: From listening to the news, the way that we're trying to expand the industries that we're working with in the whole region beyond automotive - that's certainly still a core for us - but like the new green technologies - that's exciting. You drive out in the county and you see the windmills and different ways that we're trying to make the environment better as well as bring jobs to the community.
Threats: Within the sector that I work in, employment and training, a big obstacle for our organization is getting the buy-in from business to give our clients opportunities for employment. So a threat might be when all the partners that need to work together are not working together. We have clients that we're training. They need jobs. We need to work with business. We can provide incentives to employers. So the biggest threat is maybe not moving those partnerships forward.
Economic diversification and bringing jobs to Windsor is something both residents and candidates are all talking about. What role should council play in helping that happen?
Council can play a key role in helping bring the common message that Windsor is a great place to invest, a great place to do business, and a great place to bring jobs. If they are all saying the common message about the strengths of the community - Windsor and Essex County - then we're all saying the same message and we're letting whoever wants to invest here know that this is a great place to invest. I would say it's a regional message.
Once again I have to bring it back to employment and the needs of the unemployed. I think there are two levels of unemployed people - those that are job ready and ready to go back to work - and those that need the additional assistance. So with training programs, I think that could be part of the formula for success as well.
What will influence your voting decisions most in this election?
I would say maybe issues regarding transportation. There's always discussion on how we can connect the two communities.
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