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SkillsTrader Briefing: January 11, 2021

Awareness and recognition

  • Monte McNaughton, Ontario's minister of labour, training and skills development, said he wants the younger generation to know about the benefits of a career in the skilled trades. "I'm sending dozens of recruiters into high schools across Ontario to compete against universities to get kids to go into the trades," he said. The effort will begin in September, barring any interruptions from COVID-19.
  • A group of tradeswomen, including the co-chair of Build TogetHER, the women's committee of the BC Building Trades, has written a letter supporting the B.C. NDP government's move to restore compulsory trades in the province. "When a trade is designated compulsory, it means that anyone working in that trade is legally required to register as an apprentice or journeyperson with the appropriate training authority." They argue that "compulsory trades go hand in hand with a well-managed apprenticeship system."
  • New research aimed at finding the best areas in the United States for skilled trade workers found that western states rank highest, led by Nevada, Oregon, and Washington. Las Vegas was found to be the best large metro in the country for skilled trade workers.
  • In Michigan, 59% of construction firms surveyed in December said they were having a hard time filling jobs in skilled trades. Too few newly unemployed are considering construction careers, says Ken Simonson, chief economist of the Associated General Contractors of America.

Education and training

  • The Second Career program in Ontario funds job retraining for people laid off or out of work because of COVID-19. The government has invested $72 million to support the effort and says 98% of those enrolled in the program are offered a job within a week of finishing.
  • Portland-based PeopleReady Skilled Trades , a temp-to-hire company, is starting a pilot training program to bring more people into the skilled trades in Oregon.
  • Vancouver Island University starts its Spring 2021 semester of Women in Trades Training on Jan. 13. Tuition is fully funded for eligible applicants.


  • Women in Auto Care Week runs Feb. 22-26. This year's virtual event promises "an engaging week of dynamic speakers and workshops focused on sharpening personal and professional development skills and providing you with the latest industry updates and trends." Registration is now open.
  • Build Your Future Arizona is an initiative to educate people about the opportunities available in the skilled trades industry. "Women in the skilled trades profession are a vital part of the workforce, but the challenge is to get the attention of young women who may not see themselves fitting into construction careers."
  • The recently launched Virginia Beach Pandemic Relief Partnership , which aims to help displaced workers find new skills and job opportunities, focuses on skilled trades and manufacturing jobs.


  • Manitoba will work with employers, associations like the Manitoba Building Trades, and unions to modernize the Construction Industry Wages Act, which guarantees a minimum wage for construction workers , rather than repealing it as was suggested last month.

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