Report: Culinary arts, carpentry at top of Ontario Works job training list

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People on social assistance in Sudbury may soon be eligible to receive job training in two new programs: carpentry and culinary arts.

Vivienne Martin, Sudbury’s manager of employment support services, said her department is asking the city to contribute $108,0000 to the Ontario Works Program, as the community tries to respond to shortages in the labour market by providing training for people receiving assistance.

“The idea is you take a look at your labour market in your community and [identify] where are there demands, and opportunities available and where do you see a shortfall?,” Martin said.

In Sudbury, the food sector was at the top of the list. 

“There’s a lot of work going on around food literacy,” Martin said. “We’re looking at linking up with some of the employers there, [with the city’s] tourism strategy for food, and accessing employers looking for people to work in their restaurants.”

The program aims to outfit Ontario Works recipients with the skills needed in the field. Collège Boréal would provide the facilities during the 12-week program, despite axing its own culinary program in February citing low enrolment and rising expenses.

Cambrian College cancelled its culinary arts program in 2012. 

“A lot of people don’t even know the basics around food skills, or food preparation,” Martin said.

“So the idea is to start with the basics and move up to something more complicated—  teaching them how to use different knives, how to cut fish, how to prepare different meats, how to create desserts, add spices, all those kinds of things.”

Vivienne Martin (l) and Tyler Campbell (r) of the city’s employment support services. (Casey Stranges/CBC)

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Martin said they have seen success with these training programs. Last year, her department sent six Ontario Works recipients to a local welding shop where they learned the trade. She said she keeps in touch with them, and five are earning an income over six figures.

The next step will be to receive approval from city council for the extra funds, after which they can solicit the community to find out which Ontario Works recipients would be interested in the programs.

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