September 23rd, 2019

BREWD survey seeks labour outlook

By COLLIN GALLANT on September 11, 2019.

cgallant@medicinehatnews.com@CollinGallant

A kickoff for a business attraction and labour market survey will take place next week, but the effort is boasting more than 80 volunteers as a survey to about 4,000 local businesses opens and surveys to job seekers are underway.

“Invest Southeast Alberta” is preparing to talk with business and community leaders about needs of local employers and new major industries as new hiring could put stress on the local labour pool over the next year.

Administrators state that the prospect of 1,000 new jobs at two major cannabis and hemp processing facilities will provide opportunity for existing business, such as supply contracts and a general uptick in wages and economic activity.

It also has the potential to disrupt the existing labour force and wages paid by other businesses.

The goal of the city-led study is to determine how to fill the labour requirements of new and existing businesses, said business support officer Sandra Blythe.

“One business may not be able to hire staff with the right skills, another may be troubled by red tape, while another may be concerned about competition for employees,” stated Blythe.

“The team needed to know about these issues, and we’re promising to respond and do our best to address them.”

Sean Blewitt, the manager of Community Futures Entre-Corp, said participation is vital.

“Hearing the voice of business is fundamental to the project,” he said. “We need strong participation in the survey to be confident in future actions to help business succeed.”

The information provided will be reviewed, then presented again publicly before an action plan is developed.

A survey for existing business owners will launch Sept. 16. A similar questionnaire for job seekers opened in late August.

Both will be available online through the Invest Medicine Hat website.

The Business Retention and Expansion Workforce Development (BREWD) project is a city-led endeavour that includes a broad group of businesses, post-secondary, community and governmental agencies.

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