Thunder Bay

Job skills training demand doubles in Thunder Bay

A program that helps people prepare to enter the workforce is seeing a growing demand for its services.

Thunder Bay's service sector is struggling to find employees.

Many job seekers require help with the first steps to building skills employers need.

A program that helps people prepare to enter the workforce is seeing a growing demand for its services. It comes at the same time that the city's service sector is struggling to find employees.

But the man behind the support service said many people in Thunder Bay require a whole range of help before they're ready to work.

"We need to start at a different point," said Ed Dovick, regional employment services manager with the Ontario March of Dimes.

The agency helps people with disabilities or other barriers to employment such as addictions or homelessness.

Dovick said the support program sees about 1,600 people each month. That's around twice as many people using the service compared to a few years ago. Of that group, Dovick said, about 15 find job placements each month.

Help with 'first steps'

"Finding a job is easier than keeping a job, or holding a job, or even moving onto maybe better jobs down the road," he said. "So a lot of people we see have a lot more needs. Just because they want to work doesn't mean they're ready to work at this point."

Dovick said there are "tons" of entry level jobs in Thunder Bay right now but it takes people who are "motivated, reliable and dependable" to fill them.

He said many of his clients require help with the "first steps" to building those characteristics.

Dovick said the March of Dimes drop-in program is helping people develop social skills and experience positive interactions with others. Up to 300 people use the drop-in service each week.