In response to high unemployment rates in the Niagara Region, as well as the need for students to find summer employment to afford tuition and living expenses, prominent organizations in the Region have been organizing events to help residents find employment.
In 2014, the Welland Tribune reported that Niagara had the highest unemployment rate in Ontario for December of that year with 8.8 per cent. This situation has not improved much since then; niagararegion.ca reports that the current unemployment rate for the region, as of March 18 2016, stands at 8.5 per cent.
On top of the almost 10 per cent of Niagara residents who are unable to find work, the region is also home to many students who need to find temporary work in order to fund their education at the postsecondary institutions in the area. CBC reports that, as of Sept. 2015, the average Canadian student who borrows money is expected to graduate with approximately $27,000 in debt.
Students who want to minimize their debt to prevent it from becoming entirely unmanageable after graduation need to work while studying, or at least in the summers between school terms, in order to make enough money to live and pay tuition. However, these students have to look for jobs in the same competitive market as the rest of the region, which is already struggling from a high unemployment rate.
In response to unemployment concerns, the Niagara Region has introduced a number of services, events and resources for people looking for work. One of the biggest upcoming events is the Niagara Employment Crawl on Tuesday, April 5.
The Employment Crawl is a chance for participants to tour different businesses and meet potential employers in the area. Participants will go on guided bus tours, where they will be introduced to some of the most prominent employers in the area.
The event is $15, which includes a continental breakfast and lunch, as well as all transportation for the day. The event runs for a full day, which gives participants the chance to see six businesses, as well as a chance to explore what Brock Career Services describes as “the beautiful geographic area of Niagara and all that Niagara has to offer outside of what you see on a day-to-day basis.”
Employers who will be toured on the crawl include CIBC, Innovate, Deloitte, Walker Industries, Minacs and Future Access. Participants will be given the chance to explore and network with these potential employers.
In addition to the Employment Crawl, Brock students are also always welcome to drop into the Career Services office, which is available to help them search for employment and prepare documents such as resumes and cover letters.
The Job Gym is another employment service for Niagara. The organization’s job board, where local employers share job postings, is one of its most well-known services. However, the Job Gym also offers training, seminars, events and other support for people who are looking to find employment in the region.
The Niagara Employment Help Centre, which can be found online at ehc.on.ca, is another Niagara job resource similar to the Job Gym, which shares job postings, employment-related events and job fairs for people looking to find employment. A full list of their events is available on their website.
For anyone facing particularly challenging situations, including addiction, mental illness, poverty or homeless, or anyone facing unemployment who may need extra support, Start Me Up Niagara is also a resource. They offer assistance with applications and paperwork, and provide employment help services in addition to their other offerings such as health services, housing services and free hot lunches on weekends and holidays. They are located at 17 Gale Crescent and can be found by phone at 905-984-5310 or online at startmeupniagara.ca