People from across Ontario gathered in Niagara for Growing Your Workforce on Nov. 9th. Attendees brought their perspectives as employers, educators and trainers, employment service providers and engaged community members, all working to address workforce and labour market challenges. Growing Your Workforce is an annual event by partners in the Workforce Planning West network and this year, Workforce Collective was proud to have hosted it.
Starting with a land acknowledgement and mindfulness moment, a sense of collaboration, respect and care was invited into the gathering space. Mike Moffatt, founding director of PLACE Centre, then provided a keynote presentation which laid the groundwork to explore and understand the systemic nature of workforce development and how we all play a role in driving socio-economic change.
The title of his keynote was “The big unsort”. Mike explained how changes in migration patterns have led to a population size increase of more than 1 million people in one year (a first in Canada’s history). The best and brightest people from all around the world are looking for safe and attractive places to raise families. Creating desirable places for people to migrate allows local economies to take advantage of the economic growth associated. It also increases talent attraction and retention potential, which is an issue now more than ever. Great parks, daycare workers, and construction workers for new developments are all needed. But how do we face the workforce challenges within these sectors to keep up with this increased demand?
In the panel discussion that followed Mike’s keynote, we looked at “workforce as economic infrastructure”. The panelists explored how current labour shortages are affecting our economy and how to improve employment outcomes for equity-deserving groups.
The next panel discussed workforce planning for emerging industries. Panelists explored challenges and opportunities in areas such as electrification and innovative models for skills and workforce development.
Later breakout sessions explored:
– innovation in training & skills development to address the skills gap.
– addressing barriers in employment for marginalized groups (youth, women, immigrants and racialized individuals).
– transformation of Ontario’s employment services system and how to center the job seeker and employee client amid this change.
– Decent work (providing fair wages and benefits, and building on values that drive positive change in our communities).
– workforce sustainability within childcare, a culmination of the series of design labs held throughout Ontario earlier in 2023. This session was not recorded, but the Issue briefs for many of the participating communities are available here:
All recordings from Growing Your Workforce 2023 are available via this playlist on YouTube:
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