It was a unique event - today, over 80 representatives from community organizations, First Nations, post-secondary institutions, employers, labour organizations and a host of others took part in the first Regional Workforce Table open house forum.
The goal of the forum was to provide a labour market snapshot of the opportunities and challenges facing B.C.'s Northwest and to discuss how a regional workforce table could facilitate the alignment of skills training programs with the labour market needs of the region and the people who live there.
Morning presentations included opening remarks from Parliamentary Secretary Moira Stilwell. In addition speakers provided an overview of the Northwest labour market, programs and services, community perspectives on regional training needs and opportunities and discussion on economic development opportunities in the region.
The afternoon session was devoted to smaller, group and roundtable discussions and open dialogue on opportunities for a Regional Workforce Table in the Northwest. Discussion focused on three key questions:
1. How can we ensure that the Northwest labour supply and skills training meet regional economic development needs?
2. How should a Regional Workforce Table in the Northwest be best structured to achieve this?
3. What are the key groups/organizations that should sit on the table?
The next step is the formation of a Regional Workforce Table to develop an implementation and investment plan to help inform the alignment of training with employment needs.
Driven by major projects in the region such as the Northwest Transmission Line and the opening and expansion of mining operations, the historic economic growth that is anticipated in northwest B.C. represents a both a major opportunity and a challenge as demand for skilled workers increases dramatically.
The open house forum was held today at the beautiful Waap Galts'ap Community House on the campus of Northwest Community College. The next regional workforce table open house forum is scheduled for Feb. 10 in Dawson Creek.
Moira Stilwell, Parliamentary Secretary to Pat Bell, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Innovation -
"Today, we successfully engaged community and labour market leaders in a dialogue on how to best achieve that goal. In doing so, we also made important steps towards creating a Regional Workforce Table for northwest B.C."
Naomi Yamamoto, Minister of Advanced Education -
"I'd like to thank everyone who took part in today's Open House Forum as we move towards creating this table. Your input allows communities to influence the development of a local approach to skills and job training."
Dr. Denise Henning, president of Northwest Community College -
"Northwest Community College has been working with business and industry to meet the needs of future workforce demands. Creating a framework for a Regional Workforce Table is an important part of the big picture planning that needs to occur. We all need to work together in order to take full advantage of the opportunities coming to this region."
The BC Jobs Plan: www.bcjobsplan.ca
Northwest Regional Workforce Table: www.jti.gov.bc.ca/regionalworkforcetables/
Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Innovation