Parkland Shines for Economic Development Tour4 minute read Updated: Yesterday at 1:34 PM CDT
Two weeks-ago twenty eager business, community and government leaders headed to the Parkland region, three hours northwest of Winnipeg, on the first Manitoba Chambers of Commerce economic development tour in four years.
A unique way to explore business opportunities and expand new markets, economic development tours take delegates on a two-day deputation packed with meetings hosted by local chamber and economic development leaders connecting tour participants with elected officials and Indigenous leaders. Tour delegates explore Manitoba’s home field advantage while enjoying visits to local businesses and attractions as well as opportunities to network with decision-makers.
With a unique rural focus, the Parkland tour kicked-off with Mayor David Bosiak’s State of the City address to the Parkland Chamber of Commerce. Delegates heard about the city’s history, current economic state and population and workforce growth opportunities through the provincial nominee program.
The group toured Manitoba Metis Federation’s new Northwest Council office building, before heading to Ritz Machine Works, a manufacturing business that serves a global market for precision parts used in bus transportation, agriculture and side-by-side off-road vehicles. Ritz is a global leader in pipe bending with main manufacturing plants in Dauphin and Minnesota.
20°C, Mainly clear
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It’s hardly a secret that the manufacturing sector here in Manitoba and other parts of the country is facing a critical shortage of skilled labourers.
A 2021 survey of 445 companies conducted by the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters (CME) found 82 per cent of respondents were facing labour shortages and 75 per cent felt the situation had worsened from the previous year. Numbers from Statistics Canada back it up. The agency reported there were 65,900 manufacturing job vacancies across the country in the second quarter of 2021, the highest number of vacancies in the sector since 2015.
In February, the Manitoba chapter of the CME launched a new public awareness and education campaign it hopes will help to address that labour shortage. The Manufacturing is Hiring initiative (cme-mec.ca/manufacturing-is-hiring) is designed to present the manufacturing industry in a more modern light and help individuals connect with careers in the sector that are a good match for their skills and professional goals.
“We started to think we needed a fresh way of getting in front of people who maybe haven’t considered manufacturing as a career option previously,” CME Manitoba’s director of workforce development Andrea Aiello says of the impetus behind the campaign.