Midland/Penetanguishene Mirror, February 23, 2017. A United Voice in North Simcoe: Businesses, economic development group get together to advertise 110 open jobs at local manufacturers.

Difficulties facing the manufacturing sector in Ontario have been well-documented. But a group of local companies is letting the province know there are jobs up for grabs in North Simcoe.

Eleven local manufacturers, assisted by the Economic Development Corporation of North Simcoe (EDCNS), are embarking on an advertising campaign to expand awareness of 110 jobs in the skilled trades that need to be filled in the area.

Sharon Vegh, Economic Development Director with EDCNS, said extensive growth at local manufacturers is the reason for the push.

“They’ve grown substantially,” she said. “It requires a lot of new employees.”

“Our challenge right now is getting people up here to occupy the jobs that are open.”

The campaign was driven by the EDCNS manufacturers’ roundtables, which bring together businesses and policymakers to discuss their needs and concerns.

“The manufacturers have gotten together and now are working in a collaborative manner,” said Penetanguishene Mayor Gerry Marshall. “It’ll do nothing but good things for the area.”

Advertisements are being placed in numerous media outlets across the province, including The Mirror. Nine Ontario colleges are also being included in the recruitment, with outreach happening in areas from Toronto to Barrie to Sault Ste. Marie.

Midland Mayor Gord McKay said people are often unsure about the viability of manufacturing in north Simcoe.

“The reality is, it’s doing quite well,” he said. “But our challenge right now is getting people up here to occupy the jobs that are open.”

The approach of getting local manufacturers around the table to jointly advertise their needs is a unique one in Ontario, said McKay.

“We’ve actually had this commented to us by various (provincial) ministries,” he said. “They’ve told us it’s an interesting little thing that’s being done up in north Simcoe.”

And Marshall said the initiative also brings the potential for even more job growth.

“When those jobs get filled, all those businesses will be able to explore more opportunities, which would require more employment,” he said.

“We all get circled up in this noise (that) things are bad. But the reality is, there is some really good stuff happening up here.”

The 11 manufacturers who are taking part in the skilled trades recruitment drive are: • ADM Milling • Baytech Plastics • Deluxe NEBS • Franke Kindred Canada • Keebee Play • MRT Automation • North Simcoe Tool • Raytheon ELCAN Optical Technologies • Techform • Weber Manufacturing Technologies Inc. • ZF TRW.

Ian Burns is a reporter at The Mirror. You can reach him at iburns@simcoe.com.

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