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Ontario opens business applications for $115M skills development fund


Businesses and training organizations in Ontario are invited to apply for funding from the province’s new two-year, $115-million skills development program.

The Skills Development Fund is aimed at alleviating challenges caused by COVID-19 when it comes to hiring, training and retaining, and at preparing workers and apprentices to join or re-join the workforce.

The fund will focus on giving laid-off workers immediate access to training supports or new jobs, improving quality of training, engaging with traditionally underrepresented groups, increasing apprentice registrations and completion and supporting the talent needs of small businesses.

Examples of successfully funded projects could include: a digital career fair that allows employers to connect with job seekers impacted by COVID-19, mentorship programs and career counselling for apprentices while they are training on-the-job, the creation of training materials that teach employers how to accommodate employees who have disabilities, and making workspaces and equipment more accessible.

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Up to $100 million will be allocated in this first application round, and a second round of projects is planned to provide an additional $15 million in spring.

Applicants, including employers, apprenticeship training delivery agents, unions, post-secondary institutions, community organizations and others, can now submit proposals until Feb. 28, 2021.