EOTB on solid footing to face changing labour market

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By Nick Seebruch
EOTB on solid footing to face changing labour market
Eastern Ontario Training Board Chair Frank Wilson and Executive Director Martha Woods at the EOTB's Annual General Meeting on Monday, September 22, 2020 at Esca in Cornwall (Nick Seebruch/ Seaway News).

CORNWALL, Ontario – At their Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Monday, Sept. 28, the Eastern Ontario Training Board (EOTB) looked back on a year of adaptation and successes.

At the opening of the meeting EOTB Chair Frank Wilson congratulation Executive Director Martha Woods the efforts of her and her staff over the past year.

“I want to highlight the work that Martha and her staff have been doing over the past number of years and wish them continued success,” he said.

Notably, the EOTB finds itself on solid financial ground in 2020.

“The EOTB finished the fiscal year in a great financial position with $400,000 in the bank,” said Alain Gravelle from the auditing firm Welch LLP.

In addition to financial success, the EOTB also highlighted the successes they have experienced through their programming in the 2019-2020 year.

One such success was the Opportunities Fund, which EOTB operates through funding from Service Canada.

This program helps individuals with self-identified disabilities enter or re-enter the workforce. The fund provides skills training and employment coaching to participants as well as a 12 week wage subsidy for employers.

Between April 2019 and March 2020 the program had 45 participants, of those 24 have gained employment and one returned to school. One success story from the program that was highlighted at the AGM was that of Amy Valcourt. Thanks to the Opportunity Fund, Valcourt has successfully become a Patient Support Worker (PSW) and is now working at the Cornwall Community Hospital.

Over the past year, EOTB has also grown and enhanced its services offered to newcomers to Cornwall and new Canadians.

Programs that the EOTB offers to newcomers include the Local immigration Partnership (LIP) which supports newcomers by helping them integrate and find other services in their new community.

In early 2020 the EOTB was also selected as the lead for the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP) for the Cornwall area. The goal of OINP is to bring skilled immigrants to rural and small town Ontario to fill labour market gaps. The EOTB aims at filling 50 positions with local businesses annually between 2020 and 2022.

Complementing both of these programs will be the newcomer employment welcome services (NEWS) centre. The goal of the NEWS centre will be to help get newcomers to Cornwall and the surrounding area setup in their communities by helping them find employment and integrate with the help of community partners.

By March 2020 space for the NEWS centre was aquired and they hope to hold an official opening by March 2021.

Jean-Francois Lafrance, Employment and Training Consultant with the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development Ontario which sponsors the EOTB said that the organization will be seeing major shifts in the labour market thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The EOTB also confirmed or re-confirmed five board members, Kathy Chaumont, Jean Dubois, Elise Edimo, Chantal Lessard and Chair Frank Wilson.

“The labour market is going to fundamentally change,” he said. “The roles that organizations like EOTB play will be crucial going forward.”

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