By Gagandeep Ghuman
Published: May 5, 2012
Employment Insurance (EI) recipients have been decreasing in Squamish over the past one year, Statistics Canada data obtained by the Squamish Reporter reveals.
In March 2011, there were 470 Employment Insurance recipients in Squamish, a number that had increased by 30 since March 2010.
The news had brought a nest of worry lines on Squamish foreheads. New numbers for 2012 might help erase some of them.
There were only 360 recipients in Squamish for Feb. 2012, part of a decreasing trend that started in later half of last year.
September last month saw a sharp drop: There were only 260 recipients.
The unemployment rate for the region also showed a downward trend.
The unemployment rate for Lower Mainland-Southwest, which also includes Squamish, was 8.5 per cent in March 2011.
It shows a sharp drop this year.
In Feb. 2012, the latest month for which the figures are available, the unemployment rate stands at 6.9 per cent.
Tara Ramsey, an employer community liaison with Training Innovations, is optimistic about the future, and her optimism is based on hard numbers.
In 2011, Training Innovations counted an average of 580 clients every month.
That average has remained the same for 2012, but it’s still a significant drop from 2010, a time of tight job market after the Olympics.
In 2010, her office counted 724 people walking into Training Innovations with work on their mind.
The top emerging industries for jobs: Information, Culture and Recreation, Finance, Insurance, Real Estate, Professional, Scientific and Technical Services – tied with – Health Care and Social Assistance .
Ramsey said the number of people accessing the services might seem high, but the job market in Squamish isn’t as bad as it used to be.
“Squamish was in an economic slump after the Olympics, but the job market is improving,” Ramsey said.
There were a total of 2,830 jobs last year that Training Innovations helped clients target.
Training Innovations is well-known in the community as a place to go job searching.
Now, it has also started connecting employers to prospective employees, part of an ambitious new expansion underway since April.
Training Innovation now offers more specialised and integrated services, and there will be more community outreach.
Ramsey is on the frontline of this new plan.
You will see her more in the community, working with the district and the employers, helping organise job fairs, and making valuable contacts for clients who use the Training Innovations Centre.
“We know that there are jobs there in the community, but sometimes they are not advertised,” Ramsey said.
“We want to create a better connection for the employers and out clients.”
Training Innovations is also offering a new program for employers who want to grow the potential of their low-skilled employees by providing access to training funds.
Up to $1500 is available for each employee, to a maximum of $7500 per employer, under a new program called Targeted Skills Shortage Program (TSSP).