The District of Squamish and its partners Squamish Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Squamish are the recipients of provincial funding to support local economic development initiatives. A grant of $116,500 from the BC Rural Dividend Fund will result in two key outcomes: a data initiative to get key industry information and analysis into the hands of local businesses; and a training and education program to be delivered across a continuum of local employment and sectors.
Of a total project budget of $194,500, the grant from the province will contribute 60 per cent, while the District, Squamish Chamber and Tourism Squamish will contribute the remaining 40 per cent. The project is expected to extend to 2019.
The data initiative will focus on the collection and distribution of data to inform evidence-based decision-making. Examples of data that could be provided include: industry/sector-specific data, business climate, demographic, and data to support community priorities such as housing and transportation. The project will consider how such data sets can be aggregated and analyzed, as well as made available to the local business community through an improved economic development portal at Squamish.ca and project partner sites.
The skills enhancement initiative will be developed to meet the unique needs of Squamish and will offer a training and education program to all levels of employees in the community including front-line customer service staff, trades, managers and executives, said Christina Moore, the district spokesperson. The program will help enhance employee engagement which has a direct impact on employee retention statistics and productivity. The grant funding will support the development of the program, and subsidize training and education.