The government of Ontario announced on Thursday that it is investing $3.5M across the province to train students in construction jobs.

The funding, included as part of the Fall Economic Statement, will go towards skills training projects led by the Provincial Building and Construction Trades Council of Ontario (PBCTCO), helping nearly 2,000 young people prepare for jobs in the construction industry, the province says.

PBCTCO programs specifically provide training to at-risk youth in London, Hamilton-Niagara, Ottawa, Toronto, Windsor-Sarnia, and Sudbury, and look to recruit people who have been traditionally underrepresented in the construction and skilled trades.

“The Fall Economic Statement provided good news to the construction trades sector,” said Marc Arsenault, Business Manager and Secretary-Treasurer of PBCTCO. “The new funding pledged towards the Skills Development Fund will help bring training and apprenticeship opportunities to those seeking to join the skilled trades in construction."

Minister of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development Monte McNaughton noted that not only will these additional trainees help the Ford government to achieve its sweeping building plans, but will also allow these young people to earn "six-figure salaries in in-demand industries." Ontario's construction industry has struggled with a labor shortage in recent years, with some saying this is one of the biggest barriers to creating new supply.

“We need all hands on deck to deliver our ambitious infrastructure plans, which is why we’re bringing labour, government and business together to build a stronger Ontario that leaves no one behind," McNaughton said.

The announcement comes alongside an additional $40M investment in the province's Skills Development Fund that will support more training projects for high-school and postsecondary students in various skilled trades.

"This change takes effect immediately and will help more young people transition from school to rewarding and purpose-driven careers in high-demand sectors and help deliver the province’s ambitious infrastructure plans, including building 1.5M homes by 2031," a provincial news release reads.

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