Maybe a trade school isn’t a bad idea

The Northern Policy Institute has been focussing on human capital across Northern Ontario.
Their findings do not provide for a great deal of optimism for either the Kenora or the Rainy River Districts.
Even though both districts have high unemployment rates, they also have high job vacancy rates.
In the report, it was noted that 50 companies in advanced manufacturing, mining and professional and scientific services when surveyed the biggest barrier to growth in Northwestern Ontario that was found was the difficulty in finding qualified employees.
The reports note that both districts have a higher than normal aging population and a lower than normal percentage of younger persons between the ages of 20 and 35.
All of Northwestern Ontario has experienced a population decline between 2001 and 2016.
The Indigenous population has grown from 41,600 in 2011 to 58,950 in 2016. A declining population and aging population places a real strain on economic growth.
Across the Rainy River District, more deaths are now being recorded than births.
In addition, there is a great outmigration of young people and a lower immigration of people into the district.
Fort Frances has seen a decline of population from 8,790 persons in 1996 to 7,739 in 2016.
Meanwhile, the Indigenous population is expected to increase by over 1000 persons by 2030. By then the indigenous population will make up 33.7 percent of the district’s population.
This change in population presents both a challenge and opportunity for the district.
The largest potential growth of new employees will come from Indigenous people.
“A significant gap exists, however, between the level of educational achievement of Indigenous individuals and that of the general population, resulting in a severe labour market outcome disparity that affects the current and future productive capacity of the Rainy River’s labour force” noted the Northern Policy Institute.
“In general, the labour force participation rate is lower and the unemployment rate higher among the Indigenous population” with a significant difference between Indigenous people living off reserves and those living on reserves, the study noted.
Education has played a significant role and records show that the per-student education funding of on reserve Indigenous primary and secondary schools is lower than the provincial average.
Across the Rainy River District, most students attend public schools and receive similar educations.
Seven Generations now is offering post secondary opportunities for both university degrees and trades accreditation.
Creating opportunities for both non-indigenous and indigenous students to return to the district and use their skills will help with economic growth.
It is estimate that by 2031 77.1 percent of all jobs will require post secondary education and 80% of all new types of jobs will require post secondary education.
Currently, only 54.8 percent of district residents have post-secondary education, while across Canada the percentage is 64.8 percent.
Most businesses across the district will tell you that they have difficulty in finding persons for jobs.
If the workforce remains constant in the district, the district will end up with lots of people without jobs and lots of jobs without people.
It is a problem that needs to be tackled by all district governments.
Perhaps the idea of turning the existing mill complex into a trades school is not out of line.

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail