A WEBSITE meant to connect workers with skilled jobs expected from industrial development in the next years is now active.
iChinook has its roots in a committee set up several years ago by BC Hydro to consider the number of direct and indirect jobs that could come from its Northwest Transmission Line now under construction.
That committee then added other potential industrial
developments, including the prospect of liquefied natural gas plants, to its list and commissioned a report indicating there was a gap between job skills of northwest residents and those that would be needed to work on the projects.
“British Columbia has tremendous opportunities for economic prosperity over the next 10 years, and we need to ensure that skills training is aligned with the jobs on the ground in sectors and regions across this province,” said provincial jobs minister Shirley Bond in explaining the committee’s work and the website’s purpose.
There are provisions on the website for companies to post jobs, for people to learn more about overall job opportunities and the money available to take training programs.
One key element is making sure there are trained people on hand to meet the requirements of large industrial concerns.
“With an expected creation of 6,000 (approx.) jobs between 2011-2021 in the region, now is the right time for you to integrate with this prospering economy and reap the long-term benefits,” reads one information item on the website.
Money for the website and other work comes from a $550,000 federal/provincial grant, the second such grant provided to what is now formally called the Northwest Labour Market Partnership.
The Terrace-based Skeena-Nass Centre for Innovation in Resource Economics (SNCIRE) has the contract to manage the website and pursue other programs to connect people with employment.
Although primarily meant for northwestern residents, Bond said the website will interest others as well.
“With the economic opportunities coming to the northwest, we expect that people who are looking to move to the area will also use this site,” she said.
The word “Chinook” is the trade language used by aboriginal and other peoples in the Pacific Northwest in the 19th and early 20th centuries.
SNCIRE this spring organized Partnerships 2020, a conference in Terrace which brought together industrial, business, government, education and others to discuss ways of providing a trained workforce.
The first federal-provincial grant to the labour market committee was worth $202,288 and covered the period from November 2010 to the end of 2011.
The current $550,000 budget runs out the end of November although the website is intended to last a lot longer than that through renewed government support.
The northwest isn’t the first region to create websites to build workforce workers. Prince George officials have been busy as well.