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Job training grants helping valley businesses

A joint provincial and federal government job training grant program is helping Bow Valley businesses see greater success in their fields.
Alberta’s labour minister Christina Gray, and Banff-Cochrane MLA Cam Westhead visit the Rocky Mountain Soap Company’s HQ with owner Karina Birch in Canmore on Thursday (July
Alberta’s labour minister Christina Gray, and Banff-Cochrane MLA Cam Westhead visit the Rocky Mountain Soap Company’s HQ with owner Karina Birch in Canmore on Thursday (July 13). The company took advantage of job grants designed to provide staff training.

A joint provincial and federal government job training grant program is helping Bow Valley businesses see greater success in their fields.

The Canada-Alberta Job Grant provided funds for 19 businesses in the Bow Valley from 2016-17, making $56,159 available for employers to train 28 employees.

For Alberta’s Minister of Labour Christina Gray, it is a successful program that leverages training fund budgets that may be less fulsome in tighter economic times.

“The Canada-Alberta Job Grant is intended to help support businesses to continue to invest in training, help job seekers, and help those in the market to upgrade skills,” Gray said. “In the downturn, Alberta has been experiencing in particular, being able to help support businesses to do that investment and training is even more important.”

The program is funded by the two levels of government and administered by the province. It provides two thirds of the cost of training and supports employers to invest in job skills training for employees by making it more affordable according to the minister.

The Rocky Mountain Soap Company has successfully used the grant program for two years and owner Karina Birch said the company intends to apply again this year.

Birch said the grant program was easy and straightforward to apply for and was used to provide leadership training to employees throughout the company.

“We have used it both times, and with this third application as well, it will be focused on leadership training and development,” she said. “We find that as we are hiring younger leaders, or even more senior leaders the company is growing and the teams are getting bigger, leadership training is one area that we have been wanting to focus on, but our budget is very small.

“The job training grant allows us to take our smaller budget and helps us to spread it across more employees in the company.”

Since 2015, the Soap Company has received more than $27,000 to train employees. Birch said the training has resulted in direct impacts for the companies operations, including in its retail stores.

Minister Gray said while in Canmore she took time to meet with council to get a better understanding of what challenges local busiensses are dealing with. She said affordability and housing were discussed at length.

“Our government really wants to support all areas of the province with infrastructure spending, affordable housing spending, and making sure we are doing that while considering the needs of Canmore is really important,” she said.




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