By Matthew P. Barker, Peterborough Examiner, April 19, 2022
Pathways to Prosperity aims to guide unemployed, underemployed workers to better paying jobs through training to improve their job readiness and skill sets.
A new program to help Peterborough area workers find training to pursue better paying employment opportunities was launched Tuesday by officials.
The Ontario government is providing $2,714,847 in funding over 12 months to the Peterborough and the Kawarthas Economic Development agency to develop and administer the new Pathways to Prosperity program, which aims to offer training for people to pursue in-demand and better-paying jobs in the city and county.
“This is something that came together because of ingenuity, entrepreneurial spirit and the desire to be able to do more, to do better for our community and to put our community in a better position,” said Peterborough-Kawartha MPP Dave Smith.
About 50 employers are expected to be involved in the program, employing people and providing opportunities in select fields.
Over the next year the Pathways to Prosperity program will focus on workforce development in the area, providing the unemployed and precariously employed with opportunities in the manufacturing, construction and agricultural industries and the culinary and food service industries.
Pathway to Prosperity has three pillars:
- Pre-Employment Support: readiness, participant supports, referral to training, long-term retention support, including any mental health support.
- Job Seeker Training: 15 cohorts of job seekers will receive comprehensive training designed for four sectors: line cook, manufacturing, agriculture and construction.
- Business Recruitment: recruiting 50 local businesses or more to participate and offer job placements for the job seekers at the end of their training.
Smith said it will provide career path creation to help many underemployed or unemployed people in the community to achieve better employment and provide skills needed to help them move past entry-level positions.
Many community partners will be involved through the training and acquisition of employees and helping them to achieve their goals, said Rhonda Keenan, president and CEO of Peterborough and the Kawarthas Economic Development.
“It involves Fleming College as our training delivery agent,” she said.
“It is working with Muskoka-Kawarthas as our employment hub (led by Fleming College). It’s working with City of Kawartha Lakes Economic Development and of course, the Workforce Development Board.”
Employers taking part in the program will be able to bring on employees with needed skill sets.
“The Workforce Development Board is going to be creating some career pathways to show how an entry level job can elevate you and move you through various streams to be able to find your dream job,” Keenan said.
Job salaries will be subsidized for up to five weeks to help employers and employees find the perfect fit with each other, she said.
“They want to test to see, if this is a good fit for the business, and also if this business is right for the job seeker,” Keenan said.