Province launches employee training fund

Ryan Ross
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Innovation Minister Allen Roach, left, and DiscoveryGarden CEO John Eden were on hand at UPEI Wednesday for the announcement of the Workforce Development Fund.

Island businesses looking for help to train employees have another option thanks to the Workforce Development Fund announced Wednesday in Charlottetown.

Innovation Minister Allen Roach said the province is budgeting $2.3 million annually for the fund designed to help businesses grow and develop employees’ skills.

Roach was at the University of P.E.I. to announce the fund, which will operate through Skills P.E.I. from the Canada-P.E.I. Labour Market Development Agreement or the Labour Market Agreement.

Both of those agreements were designed to help people find employment.

The fund’s three components are workforce learning, workforce innovation and workforce exposure.

Through the three components, businesses can access funding to help with several aspects of training employees, such as skill assessments, training costs and employee certification.

Roach said the money comes from existing programs through Skills P.E.I.

“It is existing programs but we’re packaging it together so that it’s going to have a direct impact on the business and the employee,” he said.

Businesses, industry associations and sector councils operating in P.E.I. are eligible for the fund if they propose activities that support the fund’s objectives and have defined start and finish dates.

John Eden, CEO of Charlottetown-based software firm DiscoveryGarden, was also at the announcement and said he likes the fund’s flexibility.

“What I like with this is they keep refining their programs and looking at the employee and employer point of view,” he said.

Although it’s a small company, DiscoveryGarden grew from nine to 24 employees in the last 18 months.

Eden said everybody knows businesses need to train employees but cash is sometimes an issue and it’s something that many companies put off because of the costs.

“Being able to provide assistance to allow a company to do things right will in the long term help that company so it’s a smart move,” he said.

DiscoveryGarden is an example of a company that benefitted from government funding for training, which Eden said was responsible for four permanent positions.

“I wouldn’t have added them without that level of assistance that I had that allowed me to take a risk on them,” he said.

Eden said he hopes to access further funding through the Workforce Development Fund and add seven or more employees this year.

“I’m just a business that’s trying to grow,” he said.

Organizations: Workforce Development Fund, University of P.E.I.

Geographic location: Charlottetown

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Recent comments

  • John Getson
    January 10, 2013 - 20:38

    Some one please take "Field of Dreams" out of what ever VCR or DVD player that our politicians seem to have parked their collective arses in front of... "Build It And They Will Come" only works in the movies! hmm, Let's see.... With one hand provide direct tax incentives to businesses rewarding them for buying equipment etc to increase production productivity via mechanization and automation... which in light of falling demand will likely translate in to job cuts... direct result is drop in revenues -- reduced income tax, reduced sale tax, increased spending -- tax incentives, etc On the other hand spend $2.3 million annually to assist businesses to train those already employed to be more productive WTF? Makes as much sense as just about everything else they have done... that is DAMN NEAR NONE!

  • walter
    January 10, 2013 - 15:21

    I am so sick of seeing Roachi's mug in the paper handing over my hard earned tax money to fly by night companies for this that and the other thing. ---sickening, the man is.

  • Garth Staples
    January 10, 2013 - 14:31

    And what is the source of the money to fund the project?

  • Wide Mouth Mason
    January 10, 2013 - 13:50

    @ Susan, I really feel for your situation. Allen Roach is more concerned with looking out for those at the top. The Islanders down towards the bottom mean very little to him. Unless it is a photo op at a food bank, then the poor matter. I suppose this GRANT money will disappear into the coffers of this Liberal friendly company.

  • George
    January 10, 2013 - 12:24

    There are plenty of highly skilled workers on pei but no jobs. There will be massive population swing to the west in the next 3 years.

  • Ladybugg
    January 10, 2013 - 11:04

    Well said Susan, I am appalled @ Mr. Roach for handing money out to those all ready employed, so they can get better skills, what about handing that money out to people that are unemployed & trying to get casual or full-time employment...So Sad

  • concernedislander
    January 10, 2013 - 10:13

    Its sure nice too see the PEI government wanting to invest in the work force to either create jobs or educate people for jobs,im just wondering so far all ive ever seen in these programs were if you didnt have an EI claim up and running or on wellfare benifits you as ah job seeker with no experience were again left to fend for yourself,ah young family has no chance here on PEI where there is only one income there seems too be know where for them too turn for help with daycare or upgrading there work skills it seems by the government standars you have too lie and cheat your way too get ahead like such things as claiming too be ah single parent with no support while your spouse is actually with you some are just no willing too cross that road in fear off being caught,student loans are not always the answer either there is never enough too cover all the expenses and for one too say get ah part time job too offset the cost good luck with that ,as bias as this may sound it seems in the last few year our government and local buissness are more interest in where and how many imigrants we can hire and train and its ah great deal most even rent them there room in turn more money in the employers pocket so i say come on lets make our island an equal place off opportunity for everyone not the chozen few the same old bleeding hearts thank god i am not just starting out in life but then its hardly safe too retire.

  • ie
    January 10, 2013 - 09:42

    EI.did you read what it said.hurray for those with full time job should pin a metal on all who work full time.

    • Head Shaker
      January 10, 2013 - 10:27

      I'll be waiting for mine. Education has it's benefits.

  • Susan
    January 10, 2013 - 09:26

    I live in Allen Roach's district. I am a single parent that is attempting to get funding through Skills PEI. From what I can gather Skills PEI has taken over the dispersment of funds for HRDC. I am having a hell of a time getting funding to help me get a education and build a better life for my small family. It seems like Mr Roach is more interested in having his picture taken handing out this money to his Liberal buddies than spending this money where the feds want it. It is bad enough to have Harper against our region. Now we have this Liberal government screwing us too.

  • Amanda
    January 10, 2013 - 09:10

    This is certainly a small step in the right direction. However, being aimed at those who are already gainfully employed, the Workforce Development Fund does absolutely nothing for the unemployed on Prince Edward Island -- where unemployment is currently the second highest in the country at 11%, and where the youth unemployment rate is significantly higher. Something must be done.

  • E.I. Recipients should be reqired to enroll
    January 10, 2013 - 08:36

    Good to see this step forward. Unfortunately the skills program in Summerside last year only had 7 participants. It should be a requirement that E.I.recipients enroll in this program.

    January 10, 2013 - 08:23

    Stop already. This must be the only place in the world where business has the taxpayer pay to train their employees while the business reaps the profits. You advertise for them, pay part of their wages, pay for the training of their employees, give grants to pay for their equipment, The only thing you do not do yet is pay 100 per cent of their wages and that will probably be next. If I as a taxpayer am going to pay for the operation of Island businesses then I want to either be able to get some profit or be able to write some business expense from my Island Income Tax.

    • not really
      January 10, 2013 - 10:25

      In the US, Wal-mart is said to hand new employees a pamplet on how to apply for welfare to have the governmetn subsidize them.