Labour unions in Hamilton awarded $3.6 million in provincial cash for jobs in the skilled trades

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Published July 2, 2024 at 1:33 pm

Four labour unions in Hamilton will be receiving more than $3.6 million in provincial funding for training projects and a building expansion to help prepare apprentices, journeymen and women and job seekers for jobs in the skilled trades.

The investments, which will come from the Skills Development Fund, will provide free training to as many as 3,800 workers for careers in skilled jobs such as millwrights, welders and the electrical trades.

“As Ontario continues to grow, we need to attract more people into the skilled trades,” said David Piccini, Minister of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development. “Our government has achieved impressive results for workers and jobseekers by working closely with labour and industry partners.”

The funding goes to the following training and capital projects:

  • International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 105 is receiving $2,388,405 for two training projects to help a total of 80 unemployed or underemployed, disadvantaged or underrepresented people gain entry-level electrical skills and safety training,as well as Red Seal electricians looking to upgrade their skills and obtain their welding certificate in Hamilton and the surrounding area.
  • United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America Local 1916 (operating as Millwright Local 1916) is receiving $797,953 for a project to provide 125 millwrights, apprentices and journeypersons with training on the latest technology used on jobsites, including on optical levels and shaft alignment lasers. Training will also be provided to jobseekers, youth, women, recent immigrants and Indigenous peoples in Hamilton as well as Grey, Bruce, Brant and Waterloo counties.
  • International Association of Bridge, Structural and Ornamental Iron Workers Local 736 is receiving $178,460 for a project to help up to 50 ironworker apprentices, journeypersons, jobseekers, women, Indigenous peoples, youth and others gain welding skills and to support the purchase and outfitting of four new welding booths at the Local 736 training facility.
  • United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America Local 1916 (operating as Millwright Local 1916) is receiving $248,338.86 for a project to build a new mezzanine level to improve its existing training centre in Hamilton. This will increase available training space by 15 to 20 per cent, growing Local 1916’s capacity for apprenticeship programs and training certifications for safety training and technical and leadership skills, including for welding and optical and laser alignment. Up to 3,545 members are expected to benefit from the increased training capability over the next six years in construction millwright and industrial mechanic trades. This will include women and Indigenous peoples in Hamilton.

Over the next decade, more than 500,000 additional workers will be needed in skilled trades-related occupations in Ontario, noted Ontario Premier Doug Ford.

“Our government is giving workers in Hamilton the support and skills training they need to find good-paying, in-demand jobs,” Ford said. “By continuing to invest in our Skills Development Fund, including the brand-new SDF capital stream, we’re also helping build up Ontario’s labour force so we can support provincial businesses and attract new investment, better jobs and bigger paycheques for Ontario workers.”

Ontario’s $224 million SDF Capital Stream was launched last June, with total investment already more than $1 billion in supporting more than 700 training projects.

“A skilled workforce is a top priority to attracting and retaining globally competitive business in Hamilton. I am absolutely thrilled with today’s announcement,” said Hamilton Mayor Andrea Horwath. “This investment will greatly benefit Hamiltonians and continues to highlight the valuable and necessary career paths that exist in these industries.”

Over the next decade, nearly 1,100 additional iron workers, more than 14,600 additional electricians, nearly 9,500 additional construction millwrights and industrial mechanics and 9,000-plus additional welders will be needed in the province due to retirements and job growth. About 11,800 of these job openings are expected to be in Central Ontario, which includes the Hamilton-Niagara area.

People interested in participating in the programs announced today are encouraged to contact the unions directly.

“Removing barriers to entry for the next generation of skilled tradespeople will empower Hamiltonians by providing the training and skills they need to get good paying, in-demand jobs in sectors that will continue to be an important part of achieving our housing needs,” noted Hamilton East-Stoney Creek MPP Neil Lumsden.

Representatives for the three unions were on hand for the announcement, with Ironworkers Local 736 business manager Steven Pratt saying the funding will ensure access to “essential resources and training” and will help Ontario’s skilled trades workforce become “stronger than ever.”

The Ontario government made a similar announcement a year ago when it awarded $3.7 million to help 300 shipyard workers, apprentices, and jobseekers in Hamilton and Port Weller get the training they need to earn “bigger paycheques” and to help modernize Ontario’s shipyards to attract more lucrative shipbuilding contracts.

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