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Microcosmic View

(February 11, 2011) Kate McLaren of the The Daily Press reports on efforts to deal with the upcoming shortage Northern Ontario.

Retirement of boomers causing labour shortage
It's no secret with baby boomers beginning to retire, the local workforce will face a shortage in the coming years.

The Far Northeast Training Board (FNETB) and the Timmins Venture Centre took time Thursday to let employers, employees and educators know exactly where the shortage will be in the next decade, and who will fill the jobs.

"The main message we want to get across to people is we have an aging workforce, so the next generation of workers needs to be groomed to replace these exiting workers," said Julie Joncas, executive director of the FNETB.

"We wanted to put that number down on paper as concrete evidence of exactly what's going on."

The organzation is a not-for-profit group with a mandate to "identify local labour force development needs and priorities," and to "develop strategic and operational plans based on local labour market information."

A recently released local labour market forecast confirmed what many employers in the community already knew there will be a need fore skilled workers in the coming years.

After collecting data from six regions with 227 surveys, the organization pinpointed exact numbers for the Timmins area.

Over the next 10 years, a total of 5,890 people are expected to leave the workforce through retirement, said Joncas.

In 20 years, 11,920 workers are expected to be replaced by the 10,850 people under the age of 40.

"Looking at those numbers, there is a shortage, although it's not as big a gap as in some other areas."

The report also provided examples of occupations for which the shortage would be the most significant, with highest projected demand for jobs including payroll clerks, dentists, contractors, and carpenters.

"Over the next 10 years, 52.3% of workers will exit the labour force," explained Joncas. "It's our job to consult with employers and employees and bring that information to the community so plans can be put in place.

"It's going to be challenging, but it's also an opportunity to tap into resources that are out there and to really start educating young people."

To help close the gap between retirees and skilled workers, several organizations made presentations outlining educational and government services available, such as the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities' Northern Training Partnership Fund.

The fund, designed to help Northern Ontarians gain workplace skills and sustain employment in resource-related sectors, is available for projects requiring training in Northern Ontario.

Joncas added to help workers acquire necessary training, workshops are being planned over the next few months.

For more information visit www.fnetb.com or call 1-800-530-9176.


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