17:15 PM

City School honours first class of SkillsAdvance Ontario graduates

First participants from innovative training program for entry-level workers for community and long-term care & early years sectors enter Hamilton’s workforce

City School by Mohawk College today recognized 26 students who have completed the college’s first SkillsAdvance Ontario programs and are entering work in the community and long-term care and in the early years sectors as a result of two new 12-week career-specific workplace preparation programs.

City School provided participants in its new Personal Support Worker Foundations program and Early Childhood Education Assistant program with nine weeks of classes, to be followed by three-week paid training placements at local service providers. Upon completion, they also earned a free credit towards Mohawk’s Personal Support Worker Certificate program and the Early Childhood Education diploma, should they wish to pursue further education.

Of the 11 participants in the PSW Foundations program, three have now started working as Personal Care Attendants in community care with Hamilton’s Thrive Group, while another six are currently interviewing for positions. (Two others returned to their work with Thrive after the training.) Though pandemic-related restrictions are preventing the early years students from working at this time, several have prospective employment as Early Childhood Educator Assistants.

SkillsAdvance Ontario projects train local people with the technical, essential and employability skills needed in specific jobs where there is a workforce shortage. Participants are adults who are unemployed, underemployed or on social assistance and are not currently in high school or post-secondary education. These programs offer them essential and technical skills training, 30 hours in a paid work placement, one-to-one employment counselling and training supports (i.e., child care, transportation), as required. SkillsAdvance Ontario projects are funded in part by the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario.

“In trying times like these, the Ontario government is doing everything we can to help workers, employers and communities succeed. Our government is helping employers address local labour shortages by training local workers and jobseekers. If you bring together motivated workers and employers who are willing to hire, great things can happen.” - Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development

“This program couldn’t have come at a better time for our community. The COVID-19 crisis has put many more people in a precarious employment situation. And thepandemic has highlighted the importance of work in community and long-term care and in the early years sector, where many facilities face workforce shortages. We are grateful to our government funders and the industry partners who helped us launch this program at such a critical time.” – Ron McKerlie, President, Mohawk College

“As a newcomer, the instructors played a tremendous role in educating me about the system in Canada. I felt welcomed, enthusiastic and optimistic because of them. Words aren’t enough to express my appreciation for this opportunity that will support my journey in finding a job and pursuing my ambition.” - Rola Zaher, participant, Early Childhood Education Assistant program