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Brooks Region Completes Workforce Development Strategy

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In an effort to get a better understanding of the local labour market supply, projected demand and challenges and gaps that face the Brooks Region workforce, the Brooks Region commissioned a Workforce Development Strategy (WDS).

“Findings from the strategy suggest there is a reasonable supply of labour in the Brooks Region,” says Jessica Surgenor, Economic Development Officer for the Brooks Region. “However, the main challenge lies in finding specific skills and experience required by employers to fill positions.”

The study found that attracting and retaining specialty skills, such as Class 1 drivers, can be challenging and the strategy addresses how the local workforce and industry can fill these gaps. The report also looked at ensuring we have a trained, active and engaged labour force that is needed to build and attract new industries as well as allow current businesses to grow.

Elan Buan, Project Consultant with Schollie Research and Consulting, performed the study and created eight strategies to develop the local workforce. Those strategies include:

  1. Continue Building the Brooks Region Brand – Promote quality of life factors and target workers who have a connection to the Region.
  2. Expose Young People to the Opportunities that Exist in the Region – Expose youth to opportunities that exist at larger industries like JBS Foods, trades, agriculture, health care and the energy sector. Offer bootcamps, dual credits and host job fairs.
  3. Help Upskill & Reskilling of Workforce – College could offer micro-credentials (bite size chunks of education), provide more e-learning and tools to learn new skills and practice procedures in accelerated formats.
  4. Keep Promoting Entrepreneurship – Support initiatives like PowerUp, Junior Achievement, and programs offered by Community Futures and Business Link.
  5. Form a WDS Partnership to Address Supply & Demand – Continue to collaborate with partners, pool financial resources and engage youth through skills labs, career fairs, work experience programs and bootcamps. Industry partnership is a critical success factor.
  6. Work with Employers to Help Improve Work Culture, Capacity & Competitiveness – Help prepare them in the digital economy, invest in workplace training, help employers see the value in investing in skills, literacy and cultural competency. Employers may need to take the lead and invest in skill upgrading.
  7. Actively Engage and Consult with Youth – Include them in community planning (create a Youth Council). Support programs like 4H, Makerspace and school programming.
  8. Provide Support to Industries & Workers Affected by the COVID19 Pandemic – Support industries such as hospitality and food services and workers that have been disproportionately affected as there may be a need to help retain or upskill workers.

Project partners involved in the Workforce Development Strategy included Grasslands School Division, Medicine Hat College, Brooks & District Chamber of Commerce, Community Futures Entre-Corp and Alberta Labour & Immigration. The project partners will work together to implement the strategies.

Click here to view the Final Workforce Development Report.

For more information about the Workforce Development Strategy please contact:

Jessica Surgenor
Economic Development Officer                                                
Brooks Region