An introductory construction trade worker course offered by Sault College will be expanded to service communities near Sault Ste. Marie.
It will be an upgraded from a construction trade worker program ran last year.
Last May, the college graduated 13 students at Rio Den Arena in Elliot Lake. The students involved in an intense 12-week program providing them training in safe work practices and technical program.
Ted Newbery, Manager of Continuing Education, said the training program was set up in response to a workforce analysis on labour force needs in East Algoma.
The Construction Craft Worker trade was identified as one needing the most recruitment into the trades.
The idea was to market it toward underemployed people whether struggling in high school or out of work for a while.
Other agencies like Ontario Works and Job Connect provided some clients that thought would be suited.
Sault College has a post-secondary certificate program that's very close to the craft worker apprenticeship program. In Elliot Lake, they decided to run a condensed 12-week program version.
There was evidence from all over Algoma there would be employment. These kind of trainees were needed in the cottage lot construction sector in Elliot Lake, but also for the building boom in Sault Ste. Marie.
The program was created out of the findings of the Algoma Workforce Investment Committee (AWIC) and the East Algoma Labour Force Advisory Committee, covered some North Shore communities between the Sault and Sudbury.
It was a broad study looking at employment trends in various sectors and the demographics, particularly in East Algoma.
Though the program finished up last spring, the college wants to run another very similar program for a pre-apprenticeship funding from the provincial Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities.
"In terms of outcomes and content, it will be a very different type of approach to delivery," said Newbery. It will be more hands-on with a work placement and academic upgrading such applied math and English writing-skills.
The new program will be 28 weeks, including an eight week placement.
With a Grade 10 entrance requirement, Newbery said it's aimed at people who have struggled academically or haven't been in the workforce for a while.
The North Shore Tribal Council and its seven First Nations between Serpent River and White River have signed on as partners.
As with the previous program, the course material will cover areas like blueprint reading, equipment handling, and health and safety.
The college has applied to the province for funding and it's hoped the program can begin in April.
It's specifically geared toward First Nations, North Shore Tribal is a partner in the program.
Newbery said the instruction delivery will be at one central location with work placements spread out as needed.
Of the 13 that graduated last spring, all were hired over the summer. One student even registered in the college's civil engineering program.
Newbery said one of the program's objectives is to expose trainees to all aspects of the trades in general.
"If they end up as a carpenter, electrician or any other licensed trades, we see that as a success. There's many career paths that this program will expose the students to."
Newbery said the training they will receive will allow them to walk onto any construction site as an entry level position.