FUTURE: Sault Ste. Marie

Labour Force Development

An overarching goal of FutureSSM, as identified by the Community Adjustment Committee, is to build our labour force. At 4.7 per cent in February, and as low at 3.3 per cent this past December, Sault Ste. Marie's unemployment rate is the lowest it has been in 20 years. Discussion with a number of local employers expressed concern about finding enough workers with required skillsets. FutureSSM is working closely with local employers, educational institutions, training organizations and employment agencies to take on a coordinated approach to address current skilled-labour demands in Sault Ste. Marie. 

High skilled positions available in the community include speech language pathologists, machinists, welders, civil and mechanical engineers, professors, software developers, HR professionals, financial analysts, marketing specialists, registered nurses, and aircraft maintenance engineers. This list is not exhaustive, and has been compiled based on discussions with employers with hard to fill and high volume positions, as well as highlighting professional opportunities for youth.

FutureSSM is taking on several innovative projects to connect Saultites to local opportunities, align students and educational programs with local jobs of the future, investigate training programs with local partners, and attract skilled workers to the community.

Paul Sayers has been hired as FutureSSM's Labour Force Development Coordinator to coordinate, create, implement and monitor initiatives designed to improve the labour force in Sault Ste. Marie. 

You can contact Paul at:

p.sayers@cityssm.on.ca or labourforce@cityssm.on.ca 

The Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot Program

Sault Ste. Marie has been selected as one of 11 communities across Canada to participate in the Northern and Rural Immigration Pilot. Our community now has an additional tool to help address the skilled labour shortage and grow the local population. With 23% of Sault Ste. Marie's workforce over the age of 55, employers in the community will be looking to replace more than 9,000 workers. The pilot project is designed to invite newcomers with special skills sets to Canada and make rural or Northern communities their home. FutureSSM will continue to work with the Sault Ste. Marie Economic Development Corporation, the Sault Ste. Marie Local Immigration Partnership and other partners to support this pilot so it can be as successful as possible in growing our community. For more information, visit https://welcometossm.com/rural-and-northern-immigration-pilot/

Spousal Recruitment Advisory Committee

In partnership with the city’s top employers, FutureSSM have convened a Spousal Recruitment Advisory Committee (SRAC) designed to promote the hiring of spouse/partners’ of newly hired employees who have relocated to Sault Ste. Marie. We recognize that spousal/partner employment is a key factor in the recruitment and retention of newly hired employees. Some objectives of SRAC include fostering introductions, networking and promoting candidates for jobs across the city as well as helping employees learn about their new community. For more information, contact labourforce@cityssm.on.ca 

Indigenous Employment Roundtables

As part of our overarching goal to improve Indigenous relations in the community, FutureSSM’s Labour Force Development Coordinator has been working in partnership with local employers and service providers to organize and facilitate Indigenous Employment Roundtables. The purpose of these roundtables are to:

- facilitate introductions between leadership/HR staff of local employers and local Indigenous Employment Service providers;
- share information and discuss possible employment related partnerships.

Between December 2018 and July 2019, fiveroundtables were held at the Delta Hotel (December 5th), Sault Area Hospital (January 23rd), Algoma Steel Inc. (February 11th), JD Aero (March 27th), and various City departments (June 2019). Upcoming roundtables include partnerships with Employment Solutions and Sault Ste. Marie Construction Association. Indigenous employment service providers from Garden River First Nation, Batchewana First Nation, Thessalon First Nations, Métis Nation of Ontario, Indigenous Friendship Centre Employment and Training, Algoma University Anishinaabe Initiatives and Sault College School of Indigenous Studies and Academic Upgrading all participated.

Direct actions coming out of those roundtable discussions include:

- Algoma Steel has taken concrete actions to recruit Indigenous youth as part of their summer student program.
- Algoma Steel organized a career fair in partnership with Garden River First Nation. Over 30 people attended.

- Sault Area Hospital and Delta Hotel are particpating in an upcoming career fair in Garden River First Nation.

- Sault Area Hospital has begun conducting their own Indigenous Employment Roundtables.

R3: Sault Ste. Marie

One of the key projects that FutureSSM is working on is a long-term plan, 'R3: Sault Ste. Marie', which lays out a series of goals and action plans to: 1) Retain youth 2) Recruit newcomers and, 3) Repatriate Saultites that have left the community. 

FutureSSM is actively getting the message to the public that Sault Ste. Marie has many high skilled jobs available, and offers an exceptional lifestyle for young people, families and newcomers. In particular, FutureSSM has reached out to the General Motors Oshawa Plant where about 2,600 autoworkers are about to lose their jobs.

Because of these efforts, several separate but related stories have recently appeared in local, provincial and national media outlets:

‘Sault Ste. Marie is short on workers – and thinks it may know where to find some’ (TVO, Feb. 6, 2019)

‘Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. Looking for workers to fill hundreds of jobs’ (CBC, Radio Canada, National Post, CTV, BNN Bloomberg, the Calgary Herald and Huffington Post Canada, among others, Feb. 7, 2019)

‘Sault Ste. Marie eyes possibility of employing Oshawa GM workers’ (Global News, Feb. 8, 2019)

As part of FutureSSM’s efforts to retain, recruit and repatriate people to Sault Ste. Marie, a new website, www.welcometossm.com has been developed to showcase all that Sault Ste. Marie has to offer, including high quality job opportunities, short commute times, affordability and an exceptional lifestyle. The website also includes positive video stories of people who have made the move to or returned to Sault Ste. Marie. A job portal allows employers who are either seeking to fill professional positions that are hard to fill or high in volume to upload jobs, and a resume bank encourages job seekers to upload their CV, increasing their chances of being connected to the right employment opportunities.

Ontario Works Transition to Work Project: Hospitality

A new pilot program designed to address local workforce entry and labour shortage needs in the hospitality sector kicked off in September in partnership with FutureSSM, the District of Sault Ste. Marie Social Services Administration Board (DSSAB), the Workforce Entry Subcommittee and local hotels.

The Hospitality Training Program runs for 4 weeks, and offers people in receipt of Ontario Works (OW) with hands on training at local hotels. The program is designed to provide real-life training opportunities with a focus on social skills development and hotel related technical skills training. Needs of employers were in the following areas: housekeeping, front desk, breakfast service, culinary and maintenance.

The end goal is that participants would receive full time employment in the sector. In total, 43 placements were secured with 12 hotels and one restaurant participating including The Water Tower Inn, Quality Inn & Suites, Johnny’s Chophouse and Bar, Quattro Hotel, Days Inn, Sleep Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Comfort Inn, Microtel, The Northlander, Super 8, Delta Hotel and Fairfield by Marriott. This initiative is being piloted through the Workforce Entry Subcommittee under the FutureSSM Social Equity Pillar.

Later this fall, the program will be applied to other sectors identified by the Subcommittee, including retail, security and labour/construction.

Workforce Entry subcommittee members include the District of Sault Ste. Marie Social Services Administration Board (Ontario Works); City of Sault Ste. Marie (FutureSSM); Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce; Sault Community Career Centre; Employment Solutions; Algoma Workforce Investment Corporation; Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities; HuronSuperior Catholic District School Board; United Way, Economic Development Corporation of Sault Ste. Marie; John Howard Society and Sault College.

Community Promotion & Job Fairs

General Motors Oshawa Information Session

On Wednesday, September 18th, FutureSSM’s Labour Force Development Coordinator and Algoma Steel traveled to Oshawa General Motors to conduct an information session for GM workers impacted by the upcoming plant closure. Future SSM presented on the top reasons to move to Sault Ste. Marie, the WelcomeToSSM website’s labour force portal and promoted various positions that are currently available in the city. Algoma Steel presented on their numerous job opportunities and walked participants through their applicant tracking system. Each presentation was followed by a Question and Answer period. Interest was high as Algoma Steel indicated there were several participants who met their skilled trades criteria. According to General Motors, Sault Ste. Marie is the only region outside of the GTA that has been actively engaged with them in efforts to recruit some of their workforce.

Sault Ste. Marie Job Fairs (Toronto and Mississauga)

On April 16th and 17th, FutureSSM partnered with the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council and the Newcomer Centre of Peel to hold two Sault Ste. Marie job fairs. The following employers participated at those events:

- Algoma Family Services (THRIVE)
- Algoma Steel Inc.
- Algoma University
- EACOM Timber
- JD Aero Maintenance
- Sault College
- Sault Area Hospital
- Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG)
- PQA Testing



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