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Training programs to ready job seekers for forestry sector

Province announced $2.4 million in funding on Sept. 6
Ross Romano, minister for training, colleges and universities, announced more than $2.4 million on Sept. 6 for training initiatives in the forestry sector. (Twitter photo)

More than $2.4 million in funding will help train people in northwestern Ontario to be ready for jobs in the forest sector.

The provincial government announced on Sept. 6 it was providing the funding for two SkillsAdvance Ontario projects.

Confederation College is receiving $1,193,467 in funding to help 144 workers and people looking for jobs gain the skills and work experience needed by employers in Thunder Bay.

The training will take place at Nakina, Kenora, Thunder Bay and White River. It will focus on skills and experience needed for mechanical harvesting equipment operator, wood processing basics, control systems and lifeskills training. The program also includes paid job placements with participating employers.

"Resolute has a strong operating presence in the region, and just last year we renewed and expanded our longstanding collaboration with Confederation College to support high-quality training for local youth," said Michael Martel, Resolute Forest Products’ vice-president of Ontario wood products operations, in the release.

"By investing in training and jobs, the Ontario government is demonstrating its commitment to creating new employment opportunities in the forest products industry and in Northwestern Ontario. A skilled labour market and sustainable business environment remain critical to the forest products industry."

The remaining $1,206,533 will go toward the Nishnawbe Forestry Operation and Sawmill Training Program, led by Oshki-Pimache-O-Win: the Wenjack Education Institute.

This project will help 56 Indigenous workers and unemployed job seekers prepare for careers in forestry-related professions. The training will take place in the Greenstone area and include on-the-job exposure to silviculture, sawmill, and harvesting operations training. Training will start this fall.

“Students enrolled will learn skills that propel them on a promising career path. The program is designed to bridge the gap between the classroom and job site, while positioning community members for local employment at sawmills and further education and training opportunities in the forestry industry," said Gary Bruyere, acting executive director of the Oshki-Pimache-O-Win: The Wenjack Education Institute, in the release. 

"Combined with the spirit of innovation, culture and determination from the students, the forestry operations and trades training initiative will create a new generation of skilled professionals for a future of endless opportunities. This will enable them to actively participate and contribute to the economy and will provide an overall improved quality of life for families and communities."