While Canada Recruits Overseas Alberta Develops Homegrown Workforce

Filed under: Hiring & Staffing,Labor,News,Politics,The Economy |

While Canadian companies recruit in Ireland in search of skilled workers, some provinces still have very high unemployment rates in certain areas, especially among native peoples.

In the oil-boom town of Calgary, Alberta, the unemployment rate dropped to 5.2% in February 2012 from 5.4% in January 2012. In Edmonton, Alberta, the January unemployment rate was 5%.

Alberta Central Railway Museum, Hoobma, Alberta,

Alberta Central Railway Museum, Hoobma, Alberta,

But an hour’s drive south in Hobbema, Alberta, and the unemployment rate is more than 50%.

“More than half of our people aren’t working,” Allison Adams, who runs the Maskwacis Employment Centre in the First Nations community, told the Edmonton Journal newspaper. Hobbema reportedly has a population of approximately 12,000 and a potential labor force of more than 5,000.

The unemployment rate among the indigenous people in all the more stunning since Alberta’s government is forecasting a labor shortage as many as 114,000 workers by 2021. Job expected to go wanting include, health care, financial services, retail, public service, restaurant and tourism jobs.

“Addressing the labor shortage is a joint responsibility between government and industry,” Dave Hancock, Alberta’s Human Services Minister, told the Journal. “Clearly, we need to continue working with schools and businesses to mitigate these shortages.”

Hancock says government and industry will need to look at bringing in workers from countries that are lagging economically. But another answer lies closer to home, in groups already here, but under-represented in the workforce.

Aboriginal people comprise about 5.8% of Alberta’s population and are a fast-growing and youthful segment of the workforce. Many aboriginals also live near heavy industry projects such as mining and oil extraction.

“The biggest opportunity we’ve got is our aboriginal youth,” Eric Newell, chair of the board of Careers, the Next Generation, a public private partnership aimed at getting young workers to take up careers where workers are in short supply in the Journal report. “If you look at it demographically, they’re the largest-growing section of the population.”

Hancock said he wants Alberta’s employers to consider hiring people with disabilities, women, youth, newcomers and seniors, according to the Journal story.
Read more: http://www.edmontonjournal.com/business/employ+citizens+Hancock/6287102/story.html#ixzz1oy7CS8CH
Read more: http://www.edmontonjournal.com/business/employ+citizens+Hancock/6287102/story.html#ixzz1oy4UEcJ5

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