PRED sponsors workforce development program
Pictured (l-r) Cathy Dowd, Caroline Cannon, Vern May and Blair Hordeski announce a workforce development program partnership between PRED, PCI and PLLC. (Supplied)
The Portage Regional Economic Development (PRED) office is partnering with Portage Collegiate and the Portage Learning and Literacy Centre on a new workforce development program. The objective of the three-year pilot is to create an increased awareness of career opportunities that exist right here in the community, and also enlighten the emerging workforce about the skills and abilities required to capitalize on those opportunities.
“Sure, announcing that we have 150 new jobs coming to the region is exciting but unless we can fill those positions, we won’t realize the full advantage of this growth”, says Vern May, executive director of PRED. “It’s important that we are reaching out to those individuals who will be entering the workforce to illustrate the opportunities that exist here.”
PRED has committed financial support for workforce development and is partnering with both Portage Collegiate and the Portage Learning and Literacy Centre to introduce an innovative approach to bringing together the interests of the emerging workforce with the current and future needs of local business and industry.
The program is called Edge Factor and has been launched successfully in other regions across North America. The Ontario-based platform helps students and their parents to identify their passion and see how that aligns with the career opportunities that are available for organizations such as McCain, Simplot, Roquette, Southern Health and other local employers. This platform also helps the local business sector to better target their recruitment efforts, identifying not only the positions that they need to fill, but also the core competencies required for those roles.
“In many cases, in rural Manitoba, we lose our youth to the larger cities because they truly aren’t aware of the career opportunities that are available to them here”, says May. “This platform allows us to close the loop and ensure that we are connecting the dots for everyone that has a stake in the economic future of Portage la Prairie.”
The platform will be rolled out through the Grade 9 Career Development program at PCI and will be incorporated into the adult education and employment programs at PLLC. It is anticipated that over the course of the three-year pilot of the program, the investment will benefit more than 800 students between both institutions.
“A major focus of the PCI Grade 9 career development pilot is career exploration and in particular, career opportunities within Portage la Prairie”, says Blair Hordeski, career development coordinator with the Portage la Prairie School Division. “We are excited about Edge Factor and its merit as a tool to help ensure that students are aware of careers available in our community.”
“We see great value in the ‘soft skills’ component of the Edge Factor Program”, says Cathy Dowd, program director at PLLC. “It is very important that our students and clients have the opportunity to gain the skills necessary to be successful in the workforce as well as increase their technical skills. This program will complement courses we teach such as Career Development and Human Relations, and will be a huge asset to our youth participants in our Portage Work Experience Program.”
Early in the new year, PRED will be in touch with the business community to identify the opportunities to promote local job opportunities and careers through this avenue. For more information on the Edge Factor initiative, inquiries can be directed to the PRED office.
A short overview of the program can be viewed online at: https://vimeo.com/242059358