The Ontario government is investing an additional $90 million in the Skills Development Fund (SDF) to support innovative training projects that upskill workers and jobseekers. This third funding round, which opens September 29, is open to anyone who is unemployed or underemployed, and will prioritize programs helping people with prior involvement in the criminal justice system, at-risk youth, people with disabilities, Indigenous people, Ukrainian newcomers, and others facing barriers to employment.
“As we continue to combat the largest labour shortage in a generation, there are tens of thousands of people who need a hand up, including those previously involved in the justice system who have paid their dues and just want to give back,” said Labour Minister Monte McNaughton. “I believe in second chances and that is why I am calling on Ontario’s employers to help us deliver programs that lift people up and give them the tools they need to earn bigger paycheques and lead purpose-driven lives.”
The province says over 370,000 jobs are going unfilled and costing billions in lost productivity. The SDF supports ground-breaking programs that connect jobseekers with the skills and training they need to find well-paying careers close to home. The previous two rounds of funding delivered 388 training projects, helping more than 393,000 people take the next step in their careers in in-demand industries. They included an investment of nearly $500,000 for the John Howard Society of Hamilton, Burlington and Area, through which over 40 previously incarcerated or justice-involved individuals received well-paying manufacturing jobs.
Funding applications will be accepted starting September 29, 2022, and will close January 31, 2023. Interested organizations can apply through Transfer Payment Ontario.
Organizations eligible for funding include employment service and training providers, labour, community, business and industry organizations, municipalities, hospitals, Indigenous Band offices, Indigenous skills and employment training agreement holders, and service system managers.