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  • Stephen Lecce, MPP

Ontario Creating Pathways for Youth to Enter the Skilled Trades

LOCATION — The Ontario government is investing over $4.7 million through the Skills Development Fund (SDF) in three Niagara Region-based projects that will provide free training to 2,318 youth, apprentices and jobseekers that will prepare them for in-demand careers in the skilled trades. This brings Ontario’s total investment in skills development and training through SDF to nearly $1.1 billion that supports the hiring, training, and retaining of youth in the skilled trades.

“To keep up with our growing province, we need to attract more youth into the skilled trades, which is why our government is working hand-in-hand with labour and industry partners to create new training opportunities,” said David Piccini, Minister of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development. “By investing in these projects in Niagara Region, we are creating more pathways for young people to start a well-paying career in the skilled trades, and build a brighter future for themselves.”

The Ontario government is partnering with industry to deliver free training programs, including:

  • Civiconnect Youth Community Engagement Organization: $3 million to help 350 youth aged 14 to 29 in Niagara Region develop technical and workplace preparedness skills for careers in the skilled trades, digital marketing, web development, digital system administration, cloud computing and information technology. Participants will work on projects submitted by businesses in the community.

  • Edge Factor Inc is receiving $1,087,600 for a project that aims to showcase careers and opportunities in the skilled trades online for 1,920 youth, jobseekers, parents and community members in Niagara Region and across Ontario.

  • United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners, Local 1007 is receiving $650,369 to purchase and outfit a new six-booth welding trailer in Niagara Region. The new industry-standard equipment and technology will enable Local 1007 to train, test and certify an additional 48 apprentices and journeypersons on various types of welding to meet industry and employer demand in Ontario.

“We have heard from young people and students in the community that their only pathway to success is through university. It’s time we break that stigma. The skilled trades open the door to a future with a six-figure salary – all without tuition debt,” said Patrice Barnes, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development. “We’re especially proud to support these local projects in Niagara Region because we know careers like these are more than a paycheque; they offer young people hope and self-confidence.”

Since its launch in 2021, Ontario’s Skills Development Fund has helped connect more than half a million jobseekers with the skills and training they need to find well-paying and fulfilling careers close to home.

Quick Facts

  • So far, the Skills Development Fund Training Stream has supported over 700 training projects across the province.

  • There were nearly 22,700 jobs recently going unfilled in Niagara Region, and nearly 219,000 jobs were recently going unfilled across the province.

  • People interested in participating in the programs announced today are encouraged to contact the lead organizations of the projects directly.

  • The Skills Development Fund Training Stream is supported through labour market transfer agreements between the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario.

  • As announced in 2024 Budget: Building a Better Ontario, the Ontario government is investing an additional $100 million through the SDF to grow the trades workforce and build Ontario, bringing Ontario’s total SDF investment to over $1 billion.


"We know in-demand jobs in the skilled trades continue to grow, especially in Niagara as we welcome a number of large-scale capital projects. All three Niagara recipients of the Skills Development Fund are effectively bringing job seekers and job creators together to help fill Ontario’s labour gap."

- Sam Oosterhoff

Member of Provincial Parliament for Niagara West

"The Skills Development Funding will be instrumental in enabling Millwright Local 1007 to offer more accessible work-ready welding training to our membership. As an organization deeply involved in supporting power generation, steel making, automotive manufacturing, and many other critical industries, this welding center is a significant step towards improving skilled trades training in Niagara and supporting new apprentice development, which would otherwise not be possible. We are grateful to Minister Piccini and the Ontario government for their continuous support of the skilled trades programs in Ontario."

- Dan Steel

Business Representative for UBC Millwright Local 1007 Niagara Falls – Millwright Regional Council of Canada

"It has been Edge Factor’s honor to share powerful stories of women, youth, people who are uniquely abled, Indigenous community members, diverse people groups, and immigrants in successful apprenticeships and skilled trades. With 100+ stories filmed with 30+ companies and transcribed into 21 languages, these stories serve as a beacon of career inspiration. Our SDF project, the Workforce Excellence Program, is now in its third year, and the impact is humbling, with 650+ participants using the digital toolkit and 8,500+ in-person connections at 75+ events, including 5,000+ from underrepresented communities. We thank Premier Ford and Minister Piccini for their leadership and helping us impact the future of our communities."

- Jeremy Bout

Founder and President of Edge Factor

"Thanks to the ongoing support from the Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development over the past three years, Civiconnect has empowered over 650 students, managing more than 350 projects for small and medium-sized enterprises. This latest investment is a testament to the Government of Ontario’s strong commitment to preparing 300 additional young individuals with vital skills and training essential for success in today’s fast-paced job market."

- Nour Hage

President and CEO of Civiconnect

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