Teenager Cassidy Atkinson knows she wants to eventually work in a skilled trade but after giving plumbing a try her interest in that line sort of drained away.
So the 16-year-old General Amherst student jumped at the chance to apply for the new Enhanced Construction Program being offered by the Greater Essex County District School Board through a partnership with the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America.
The board was able to offer the program to 19 students from seven different schools courtesy of $348,646 in financial support from Ontario’s Skills Catalyst Fund.
MPP Rick Nichols (Chatham Kent-Leamington) gathered with board officials, local contractors and union officials at Carpenters’ Local 494 and the Carpenters’ Training Centre on Fasan Drive in Oldcastle to make the formal announcement Thursday.
“We are pouring a lot of money into apprentice programs and training,” Nichols said of a $37 million initiative to access training and upgrade skills. “This reaffirms our government commitment for people to gain skills and training.”
Nichols said the government investment would ultimately lead to 15,000 skilled trades’ jobs.
“We know good jobs can change lives,” he said.
The Enhanced Construction Program was one of three projects unveiled on Thursday. The second was a $480,000 commitment to a program in partnership with FCA Canada to provide student employment opportunities and create experiential learning opportunities in research and production.