File photo courtesy of © Can Stock Photo / hKuprevichFile photo courtesy of © Can Stock Photo / hKuprevich

Opportunities, challenges outlined in new Windsor-Essex labour report

Windsor-Essex's latest labour market report has shown progress in some areas while work continues in others.

Workforce WindsorEssex released the 2023-24 Local Labour Market Plan on Tuesday, which did a deep-dive into key labour statistics affecting the area, as well as identifying areas in which the market can grow.

"Workforce WindsorEssex looks forward to collaborating with the community on this important work as we better position the region to take advantage not only of its economic growth but its economic potential," said Workforce WindsorEssex Research Projects Manager Tashlyn Taskey.

The labour market plan pointed to the opportunities the region has as a future hub of the electric vehicle (EV) industry, as well as its current status as a leader in education, tourism, and agribusiness.

"Being a leader in the EV space, including production, research and development, and education, will ensure that Windsor-Essex’s employment is no longer at the whim of the auto industry but instead at the helm," read the report's conclusion. "Without creating a vacuum effect of other industries, we need to create a talent pipeline locally that can directly educate, train, support, and employ our available and future workforce."

A survey of local employers revealed that 45 per cent of respondents felt good about their ability to retain employees, and 37 per cent believed they could easily attract new employees. However, only 22 per cent felt there was a proper availability of qualified workers.

The report also stated that for growth to happen, investments must continue to address the affordable housing shortage, and increases in childcare options should be considered. Training programs for in-demand industries should also evolve.

"It is also important to develop sustainable short-term and traditional education and training programs to ensure that students are consistently graduating with in-demand skills, and so career changers can take full advantage of employment in our top sectors," read the report.

Recommendations provided in the report include making skilled trade growth a priority. The plan said that while the gap between young people entering the trades and older workers leaving the workforce has narrowed, more can be done to open opportunities for women, people of colour, and newcomers.

The report also suggests making the region more attractive for high school tech teachers, improving retention in a tourism industry rebounding from the COVID-19 pandemic, and decreasing the technical "brain drain".

The complete report is available for viewing on the official Workforce WindsorEssex website.

Read More Local Stories