The federal government is launching a new program focused on upskilling workers for high-growth sectors.

The Upskilling for Industry Initiative was first announced by the Government of Canada in Budget 2021 with $250 million CAD in funding over three years. The program will be delivered in partnership with Toronto-based nonprofit Palette Skills.

The program comes at a time when, as Palette Skills chair Janet Yale noted, “Canada’s labour market is facing significant challenges.” Despite a looming recession and all of the recent tech layoffs, many Canadian companies today, in both tech and a wide variety of other industries are still struggling to find skilled workers amid a record-tight labour market.

“Canada’s economic growth depends on a robust and adaptable workforce that can thrive in high-growth sectors.”

The Government of Canada’s Upskilling for Industry Initiative aims to support firms that fit this bill in sectors like digital technology, cybersecurity, AgTech, advanced manufacturing, cleantech, and biomanufacturing. The program is geared towards helping companies secure the skilled talent they need, while also helping workers gain employment in high-growth industries.

“Canada’s economic growth depends on a robust and adaptable workforce that can thrive in high-growth sectors,” said François-Philippe Champagne, Canada’s minister of innovation, science and industry. “We want to make sure workers can gain the skills required to seize new opportunities, and we are putting employers at the forefront of the upskilling solution.”

The Upskilling for Industry Initiative will help fund the development and implementation of short-cycle upskilling programs based on industry needs, connecting industry, employers, postsecondary institutions, and private training providers.

Palette Skills, which focuses on developing employer-driven upskilling programs, was selected as a national delivery partner for the Upskilling for Industry Initiative following a merit-based call for applications that closed last year.

The Government of Canada said it expects the investment to help more than 15,000 Canadian workers transition into new roles.

Feature image courtesy Burst. Photo by Pegleess Barrios.

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