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Colleges partner to deliver workforce training in goods movement and supply chain sector

May 4, 2021

Four colleges from across Canada have partnered to support economic recovery in their regions through the launch of a new industry training program in the supply chain sector, funded by the Future Skills Centre and developed by Mohawk College’s City School initiative.

Nova Scotia Community College, Mohawk College, Red River College and Vancouver Community College have partnered to deliver the Material Handling 4.0 pilot program, designed to help people transition into careers in the supply chain sector.

The program builds upon the successful training model used by City School in Hamilton, combining industry-driven training, individualized student support and practical work experience to provide comprehensive training services to people who face barriers to employment and education.

Upon completion of the program, participants receive a micro-credential and employment services to help them successfully transition into long-term, stable employment.

The Material Handling 4.0 pilot program will provide participants with six weeks of industry-specific instruction and a two-week paid work placement, complete with wraparound supports such as child care, all required PPE and supplies for work safety, and referrals to support services (legal clinics, housing, health, etc.).

This program will provide training for 243 people across the four participating colleges. Mohawk begins its first local cohort of the program today, and the partner colleges will launch their cohorts starting in Fall 2021.

Future Skills Centre (FSC) announced an initial investment of $1.95 million in the first phase of the program at Mohawk College in 2020 to develop and establish the program in the Hamilton area. Today, it is announcing an additional $1.1 million to expand the program to the three additional communities across Canada.

“As we continue to recover from COVID-19, our government is helping jobseekers upskill and re-skill to fill in demand jobs. Mohawk College’s Material Handling 4.0 project is helping workers transition into new job opportunities within the supply chain sector,” says Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion. “Further investments through the Future Skills Centre will allow new partnerships to expand the project’s reach and continue this important work.”

“Employers in the supply chain sector are suffering from labour shortages and disruptive technologies have left some workers behind,” says Ron McKerlie, President and CEO of Mohawk College. “The City School by Mohawk model has had proven success in creating pathways to meaningful employment in Hamilton over the past five years. We are grateful that our partner colleges have chosen to adapt this successful model to train people for supply chain job opportunities in their regions.”

“Red River College is committed to building more pathways for our students – especially our Indigenous, newcomer, and immigrant learners – to move from classroom to career with the human and technical skills they need to access gainful employment, all while helping to rebuild the Manitoba economy,” says Dr. Christine Watson, RRC’s Vice-President, Academic and Research. “We are thrilled to join this partnership for the Material Handling 4.0 pilot program, which will help us continue to fill workforce needs in the growing supply chain and logistics sector here in Manitoba, and we thank the Future Skills Centre and Mohawk College for this opportunity.”

“We are pleased to support the expansion of this program,” says Pedro Barata, Executive Director of the Future Skills Centre. “We know that employers in the supply chain and material handling sector face labour shortages, while workers need to acquire different, more technical skills to meet the demands of this evolving industry.

“This learning model has demonstrated promise and fills a gap in the skills ecosystem around the need to connect post-secondary education with workforce development to support career advancement. Rolling out this program to strong partners in different regions will support workers, employers and industries to adapt effectively to these changes in order to thrive in the economy of the future.”

“We appreciate the investment from the Future Skills Centre in recognizing the importance of a skilled workforce in the much-needed function of materials handling,” says Pat Campbell, Vice President at Supply Chain Canada, which supports post-secondary institutions as they provide the full spectrum of education and training needed to work as practitioners and professionals.

“Across warehousing and distribution, there is a chasm that needs to be addressed — especially now. And we’re glad to have the opportunity of expanding our existing partnerships with Mohawk College, Nova Scotia Community College, Red River College and Vancouver Community College as they take this important step to address a growing need.”