Ontario earmarks $19 million to boost jobs in auto sector

Call for proposals from employers until Feb. 25

Ontario earmarks $19 million to boost jobs in auto sector

The Ontario government is looking to spend $19 million to create more hands-on learning opportunities for postsecondary students, recent graduates and apprentices for the auto manufacturing and advanced manufacturing industries.

As part of its Driving Prosperity Plan, the government has released a call for proposals for a second round of hands-on learning projects with the goal of creating as many as 4,000 paid work placements between 10 weeks and four months. Automotive manufacturing, as well as manufacturing companies that service the auto sector, along with industry associations, postsecondary institutions, and other not-for-profit organizations, are encouraged to submit proposals, says the province.

The call for new proposals will be open until Feb. 25. The fund will provide incentives to employers of up to $3,000 per placement or up to $5,000 for placements for participants with disabilities.

“Ontario’s auto sector needs highly skilled people to master the challenges of economic change and stiff global competition,” says Monte McNaughton, minister of labour, training and skills development. “Through this investment, we not only help our future engineers, designers, managers, technicians and tradespeople to apply their studies to real world problems, we also allow them to explore the auto industry as a career option.”

Troubled times

The province was North America’s top auto-producing region in 2017, when it produced almost 2.2 million vehicles. But production has fallen 25 per cent since 2000, says the government.

The effort comes as General Motors, which closed its Oshawa assembly plant in December, costing the province 3,000 auto sector jobs, opened a new centre to help workers transition to other industries.

The first round of the Career Ready Fund’s auto stream created more than 1,000 learning opportunities for postsecondary students, recent grads and apprentices through projects by Toyota, Honda, Ford and Fiat Chrysler, as well as from the broader supply chain through Automotive Parts Manufacturers’ Association and the Canadian Tooling and Machining Association, says the province.

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