Many openings in construction trade despite Windsor's 8.5% unemployment rate
Skills development program underway to fill gap
Thousands of jobs are available in the construction trades in Windsor Essex but the government relations director for LiUNA 1089 and 625 said they are having a hard time filling them, all across the province.
"We have a tremendous shortage of people right across Ontario. We've heard our local building trades leaders say that we could put 20,000 to 30,000 people to work tomorrow if we had them," said Jason McMichael, government relations director for LiUNA 1089 and 625.
While there are thousands of jobs out there in construction, Windsor still has an unemployment rate of 8.5 per cent.
Justin Falconer, the CEO of Workforce Windsor Essex says even though 5,300 jobs were created in Windsor Essex last month, many of those were filled with people who decided to re-enter the workforce.
He said the unemployment survey may have included people on layoff from Stellantis and Syncreon, and that many unemployed people aren't cut out for construction work.
"They're looking for the right kind of applicants, someone who's got aptitude and working with their hands and has an interest in this is a career," said Falconer.
Workforce Windsor Essex is partnered with the Provincial Building and Construction Trades Council of Ontario to provide a hands-on skills, 12-week course for adults with at least a Grade 12 diploma. The Tomorrow's Trades program is run in different cities in Ontario with provincial funding.
The participants get a taste of various construction trades such as masonry, carpentry and welding and then if they show they have ability in one of the trades they like, they can get into an apprenticeship program with one of the trade unions such as LiUNA.
"I actually enjoy the stonework, so I actually want to get into the masonry part of it," said Sherry Marshall, who got into the program because she was tired of her low-paying, dead-end job.
She along with 11 other participants were learning how to build brick and stone walls at a masonry academy at the former St. Anne's high school in Tecumseh Wednesday.
"Every trade is booming right now. That's all we've heard is that we can't get people fast enough. We need people. So it's a wonderful opportunity to get hands-on training," said Erick Morin, who is taking part in the training program.
The trades council is seeking more provincial funding to continue the program next year.