Video – Three-Way Partnership Promises Affordable Homes and New Jobs

In Local

By Cecilia Nasmith/Today’s Northumberland
A new partnership announced Wednesday (July 3, 2024) morning promises not only to help build affordable homes but also to train 30 people for well-paying, sustainable careers.

Northumberland-Peterborough South MPP David Piccini appeared at the Habitat For Humanity building site in Baltimore (where seven families will soon live in a townhome row of two- and three-bedroom units) to make the announcement of Ontario’s investment of $665,880 in the Building Skills to Build Homes project.

With Habitat and the Community Training and Development Centre as the other two partners, the result will be a course that, over a few weeks, will train 30 new workers in home construction and finishing trades with a combination of virtual and practical training that includes on-site placement at Habitat builds in the community. The program also provides career pathway guidance to help trainees move forward from the program to careers that benefit the community as well as their own families.

Funding comes through Ontario’s Skills Development fund, launched in 2021 and, to date, supporting more than 700 projects that have helped almost 600,000 workers acquire skills and training to help launch well-paid careers.

Piccini – also Minister of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development – shared the floor with representatives of both partner agencies.

Habitat board chair TJ Flynn said this local Habitat For Humanity organization has been providing affordable home ownership for 26 years.

Chief Executive Officer Cathy Borowec said that the on-site work of the 30 trainees will be with a local employer within the home-construction industry who works with sustainable, environmentally friendly methods and materials. It’s a valuable experience that will also help develop such skills as resiliency and effective communications.

“It’s an opportunity for people seeking employment or at risk of job displacement,” Borowec said.

“Our work site provides an ideal opportunity for experiential hands-on learning, as workers are coached through the various elements of construction and finishing detail by our experienced staff and the contractors we work with.”

CTDC Chief Executive Officer Madelaine Currelly said her organization has been serving the community for 27 years, and she is delighted to partner with another agency that works to strengthen the community. And for her, this program is a winner.

“People can continue to move forward with skills, training, finding jobs, moving forward in their lives and also doing community good,” Currelly said.

“Right now we are so desperate for people who will work in this industry and who value this industry – I think that has gone by the way somewhere along the line.

“You need people not only to build, but also to renovate, to make sure people can stay in their homes as they age.”

Technology has seen the centre abandon physical face-to-face classroom training in favour of on-line training that can be carried everywhere on someone’s phone. And part of their curriculum was developed in collaboration with the University of Waterloo Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation to loo.k at the effects of flooding, fire, extreme heat and drought on homes.

“I want to say how happy we are to be part of this adventure. It’s new, it’s collaborative, it’s unique,” Currelly said.

Piccini declared his enthusiasm for the work Habitat For Humanity does – “a program I so fundamentally with every bone in my body believe in.”

He sees programs like Building Skills to Build Homes as a way to address two existential crises Canada faces – the decline in productivity and the lack of housing.

It also addresses what he termed a silver tsunami that is looming at a time when one in three journeymen is over the age of 55.

“I am just so excited this is happening in our own community,” Piccini said.


Cecilia Nasmith
Author: Cecilia Nasmith

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