Re-engaging the prematurely retired

Manitoba-born program targets middle-aged employees in bid to help businesses, particularly rural ones, find much-needed talent
By Allen Warren
|Western Report|Last Updated: 08/04/2010

When Graham Starmer, president of the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce, ran into a director from Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC) a year-and-a-half ago, he mentioned a problem that small businesses in primarily rural parts of Manitoba were having in succession planning.

The problem was threefold, he explained.

First, businesses were having trouble finding a local source of employees other than high school-aged students — a labour force whose experience and availability are limited. Second, rural businesses lacked a reliable “second tier” to leave in charge while owners went on vacation. Many shop owners, as a result, hadn’t seen holidays in a number of years. And, third, a mentorship drive employers in rural Manitoba communities were trying to implement wasn’t working out due to the difficulty in finding mentors.