Unifor continues to fight Windsor skills gap with $75K donation to St. Clair College
St. Clair College to invest money into upgrading training facilities to better prepare students for jobs
In an ongoing bid to help manufacturers in the Windsor region find skilled workers, union leaders have invested $75,000 to help upgrade trades programs at St. Clair College.
Officials from Unifor Local 444 and the college announced a new partnership Tuesday morning, just weeks after business leaders sounded the alarm on a widening skills gap that is costing the region half a billion dollars a year.
"In our world, we have employers who can't find anybody to fill jobs," said Dino Chiodo, Local 444 president. "We want to be a part of the solution."
The money is just one component of an 18-month collaboration between the school and the union that has helped the college understand the needs of employers, said St. Clair College president Patti France.
Unifor has given the school input on how to improve programs, while acting as a liaison between the industry and the school, she said. The union's donation will now help upgrade equipment, so students have training on some of the latest technology needed to land jobs.
This deal "symbolizes the collaboration between St. Clair College and Unifor," France said. "We've been very fortunate to have Unifor at the table."
Skilled trades people have been a challenge to find, according to the latest report from the Windsor-Essex Regional Chamber of Commerce. Last year alone, half of the employers in the area had difficulty hiring people with skills ranging from builders to forklift operators with between 400-500 jobs unfilled.
France commended several groups, including the region's school boards, governments and post-secondary institutions, for working together to tackle the skills gap.
"There's no magic bullet. We all have to work together and collaborate," France said. "Unifor is part of that collaboration and that effort."