TORONTO — The Ontario government is providing an additional $83 million towards the Skills Development Fund to help support ground-breaking training projects that upskill workers and prepare job seekers for meaningful work in their communities. Beginning tomorrow, the fund will begin accepting proposals for the second round of funding and is expanding its eligibility to allow an even wider range of organizations to apply, helping give more people the training needed to fill the shortage of skilled workers in Ontario.
Details were shared today by Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development at the LiUNA Local 506 Training Centre in Richmond Hill.
“With almost 150 projects so far, the first round of the Skills Development Fund was a tremendous success, helping 260,000 workers and job seekers around the province take the next step in their careers,” said Minister McNaughton. “However, we know employers are still having difficulty finding the talented workers they need to stay competitive and grow their businesses. That’s why we’ve opened a second round of funding that will be accessible for an even wider range of programs and organizations.”
The investment includes $334,487 for LIUNA to give 8,000 members of Local 506 as well as construction craft worker apprentices free access to a wide range of online skills and safety courses workers need for their jobs through LinkedIn Learning.
“The Skills Development Fund continues to empower career-building opportunities in the skilled trades by expanding and modernizing apprenticeship training,” said Carmen Principato, LiUNA Local 506 Business Manager. “This funding announced by Minister McNaughton will provide cutting-edge training, working together with labour and industry to meet the growing demand of Ontario’s workforce.”
The province will be accepting applications from a broader range of organizations including Indigenous skills and employment training centres, Indigenous Band offices, social service administration boards, municipal employment providers, hospitals, and other organizations. This funding can also be used to cover a wider range of financial supports for trainees, including expenses for transit and child care.
“LiUNA’s industry leading training is a gateway to building prosperous careers throughout the construction industry,” said Joseph Mancinelli, LiUNA International Vice President and Regional Manager of Central and Eastern Canada. “With the continued support of Minister McNaughton and the Skills Development Fund, we continue to upgrade innovative training and marketing programs to expand outreach and recruitment, modernize the skilled trades and ensure that Ontario’s workforce is safe and job ready as they remain at the forefront of community building.”
Organizations applying for the second round of the Skills Development Fund can also receive funding to accommodate trainees and workers with disabilities. This includes travel costs for people who require mobility support, including site-to-site job travel for both participants and support persons. Employers can receive up to $5,000 per job placement if they support a trainee with a disability. Project proposals will be given special consideration if they can clearly show how they will support postsecondary and high school graduates with disabilities or those experiencing mental health challenges.
Today’s announcement brings Ontario’s total investment in the Skills Development Fund to over $200 million. The Fund was designed to support fresh ideas for training and skills development that will help keep our economy open and make our workforce more resilient.