Thunder Bay Businesses Offered Up to $20K for Apprenticeship Programs

Skilled Trades
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THUNDER BAY – BUSINESS – Thunder Bay’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are poised to strengthen their workforce through a significant federal initiative aimed at bolstering the trades sector. Eligible local businesses could access up to $20,000 in grants to facilitate the hiring and training of first-year apprentices in 39 designated Red Seal construction and manufacturing trades. This funding opportunity is part of the broader Apprenticeship Service Program, designed to enhance the capacity of businesses to recruit, train, and retain apprentices in these critical fields.

Boosting Local Trades with Federal Grants

The federal government’s commitment through the Apprenticeship Service Program aims to address the pressing need for skilled tradespeople in Thunder Bay and across the nation. By offering financial assistance for the engagement of Level 1 apprentices, the program seeks to alleviate the challenges businesses face in sourcing qualified trades workers.

Chamber of Commerce Spearheads Apprenticeship Initiative

Charla Robinson, president of the Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce, highlighted the critical shortage of trades professionals in the region. Robinson emphasized the program’s inclusivity, stating that businesses ranging from micro-enterprises to those with up to 500 employees are eligible to apply for these grants. With additional incentives of up to $10,000 per year for apprentices from underrepresented groups, the initiative not only seeks to fill the skills gap but also to enhance diversity within the trades.

Incentives for Hiring Underrepresented Groups

The Apprenticeship Service Program places a strong emphasis on promoting diversity in the trades. By offering higher financial incentives for hiring apprentices from underrepresented demographics, including Indigenous peoples, women, and people of colour, the initiative aims to create a more inclusive and diverse trades workforce.

Expanding Diversity in Trades

Robinson also shed light on the importance of apprenticeships in fostering skilled tradespeople, akin to the rigor and duration of obtaining a university degree. She remarked on the program’s potential to enable businesses to hire additional apprentices, thereby accelerating the entry of skilled workers into the trades and promoting economic growth in Thunder Bay and beyond.

The program is managed collaboratively by several national organizations, including The Canadian Apprenticeship Forum and the Aboriginal Apprenticeship Board. Local businesses interested in leveraging this opportunity to enhance their workforce and contribute to the diversification of the trades sector are encouraged to register through, paving the way for a more skilled and diverse trades community in Thunder Bay.

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