Chamber working on workforce development video
By Chad Ingram
Published Nov. 28, 2017
The Haliburton Highlands Chamber of Commerce has plans for a promotional video to strengthen the county’s workforce and is canvassing local municipal councils for support.
Chamber manager Autumn Wilson paid visits to Dysart and Haliburton County councils last week, and is planning to visit the county’s other lower-tier municipal councils as well, requesting funding for the project.
“It’s no shock that employment is an issue in Haliburton County,” Wilson said. “The talent pool is getting smaller, making it difficult for businesses to grow.”
Using stats from the Fleming CREW Employment Centre, she said that as of Nov. 10, there were 183 job postings for Haliburton County, and that the actual number of available jobs was probably higher.
“Not a lot is done to attract the population we need for our economic development,” Wilson said.
According to 2011 figures from Statistics Canada, there were 1,570 people in the local workforce aged 15 to 24; 2,425 aged 25 to 44; 6,225 aged 45 to 64; and 4,720 aged 65 and older.
“We really need more people in that 25 to 44 category,” Wilson said.
According to information from the Workplace Development Board, by 2021, it’s projected there will be more than 450 additional positions in the county by 2021, including cooks, retail managers and salespeople, registered nurses, nurse aides, facilities operators, landscaping and maintenance labourers, social and community service workers, general office support workers and carpenters.
The county also has fewer young people, with the student population at Haliburton Highlands Secondary School shrinking from 612 to 435 between 2009 and 2016.
“Our county needs more families in order to strengthen our workforce,” Wilson said.
Wilson said the chamber is also trying to strengthen its partnership with the high school and is looking at the concept of a careers day, where local employers would set up at the school and answer questions about what skills and educational criteria they are looking for, pay ranges, etc.
The concept for the video, which would be produced by Positive Media, is to market the community, through the aspects of employment by showcasing local industries, as well as assets such as schools, hospitals, etc.
The idea is to attract more people to the county to establish small- and medium-sized businesses.
It would include all original footage and feature entrepreneurs and employers talking about why they do business in Haliburton County.
The video would be made available for businesses to use a recruiting tool.
“It [the video link] can be put on a document, it can be put on a website, it can be put in a lot of areas,” Wilson said.
The request is for $2,000 from each of the lower-tier townships and the county, for a total of $10,000. If the chamber is successful in its funding request from the province’s Rural Economic Development (RED) program, it would lower the cost for local governments to $5,000 collectively.
“To me, it’s something that the county should fund,” said Dysart et al Mayor Murray Fearrey.
The councils are referring the request to their upcoming budget deliberations.