County is set to focus on workforce recruitment and retention to support regional employers

The County of Simcoe’s Economic Development Office (EDO) and area partners including member municipalities, the cities of Barrie and Orillia and several supporting partners have received funding to help create stronger rural communities. This funding will be utilized to deliver programming to help address local labour shortages in key sectors.

The $58,875 in Rural Economic Development (RED) program funding from the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) will support workforce attraction and retention activities in alignment with the County’s 2021-2025 Economic Development Strategy. The strategy was developed in consultation with area employers who indicated that the lack of access to labour is a major challenge that is hindering their growth.

Data collected from the County of Simcoe’s Work in Simcoe County website,, shows that in the month of September, there were 11,441 active job openings in our region. This funding will be utilized to support four key activities that are designed to help the local labour market.

  • Labour Market Research Study – In collaboration with the Simcoe Muskoka Workforce Development Board and Literacy Network, the study will focus on identifying skills and training gaps in key sectors, including manufacturing, agriculture, entrepreneurship and technology, professional, scientific and technical services, construction and healthcare. Employers are invited to submit feedback to the survey before October 14 to help inform this strategy and action plan. Your insights will support future planning and programming to address employment and training needs in the region. To access the survey, please click here.
  • Employer Education and Collaboration – Learning and networking opportunities are being developed for area companies on workforce topics. An upcoming opportunity includes the Secrets to Being an In-Demand Employer workshop on October 18, which will cover the key ingredients that make a job ad appealing to candidates, how businesses of all sizes can shape and communicate job ads, and how employers can deliver on their promise throughout the employee lifecycle to attract and retain talent. To register, please click here.
  • Virtual Job Fairs – Local events are being held in collaboration with partners to aid talent attraction to Simcoe County. Planning is underway for the next job fair in early 2023.
  • Awareness Building Initiatives – New success stories will be launched and promoted through, a regional jobsite with thousands of job opportunities, career exploration tools and resources for job seekers and employers.

“As the County’s Economic Development Office continues to work with local business and municipal partners to advance our economy, it’s clear that access to a strong local labour market will be key to our success. In addition to connecting job seekers to employment opportunities, our W​ork in Simcoe ​County job site helps identify our local labour needs. We are grateful to the provincial government for this funding through the Rural Economic Development program, which will support our strong, targeted efforts to attract and retain the right workers to help business grow and thrive.”
~ Warden George Cornell, County of Simcoe

“A strong labour market is essential to business growth and success. The City of Barrie is excited to partner with the County of Simcoe and the City of Orillia on initiatives to support workforce attraction and retention.”
~ City of Barrie Mayor Jeff Lehman

“We look forward to continuing to collaborate with the County of Simcoe, the City of Barrie, and other regional partners on this multi-faceted workforce attraction and retention project. These workforce development initiatives are geared to address local labour market challenges by identifying skills and training gaps across key sectors and facilitate employment for the local and regional economy by providing new opportunities for job seekers and employers to connect”.
~ Mayor Steve Clarke, City of Orillia

About Work in Simcoe County
The Work in Simcoe County site includes local resources and job opportunities, as well as vital information to empower and inspire residents. Using an automated fetching tool to aggregate job listings from over 20 popular job boards and career sites and new user-friendly features, the portal provides services for job seekers, students, parents and local government and helps to link residents with local opportunities. Click to watch a short video to learn more about how the jobsite works.

About the County of Simcoe
County of Simcoe is composed of sixteen member municipalities and provides crucial public services to County residents in addition to providing paramedic and social services to the separated cities of Barrie and Orillia. Visit our website at­­­­­­​




Business After 5

Thursday, September 28, 2023 – 5 pm to 7 pm La Cle – 63 Main Street, Penetanguishene Hosted by The Economic Development Corporation North Simcoe

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County is set to focus on workforce recruitment and retention to support regional employers