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City School, Indwell partner for new SkillsAdvance Ontario program

Students being trained in culinary, environmental services for jobs in residential and healthcare facilities

Mohawk College has partnered with Indwell to offer free employment training for careers in residential and other institutional settings. This program is supported with $473,466 in SkillsAdvance Ontario (SAO) funding from the Ontario government.

The new Culinary and Environmental Services program provides a direct response to an identified labour demand in residential and healthcare settings, such as retirement homes, supportive housing, and hospitals. The program has been developed, in conjunction with Indwell’s Gather Culinary Academy and Mohawk’s City School program for people looking to enter or rejoin the workforce.

Over the course of eight weeks, participants will gain hands-on culinary and environmental services skills from industry professionals at Gather Culinary Academy. Participants will also be involved in paid work placements with Compass One Healthcare and Thrive Group, providing them with hands-on experience in the sector.

Given the increased emphasis placed on cleaning and care in residential facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic, demand for trained workers has greatly increased. This program focuses on the technical skills required for safe and healthy meal preparation and general housekeeping. It also provides the soft skills required for work alongside residents of these facilities (many of whom may be vulnerable or in compromised health), focussing on interpersonal skills and safe/ethical work practices.

SkillsAdvance Ontario projects train local people with the technical, essential and employability skills needed in specific jobs where there is a workforce shortage. Participants are adults who are unemployed, underemployed or on social assistance and are not currently in high school or post-secondary education. These programs offer them essential and technical skills training, 30 hours in a paid work placement, one-to-one employment counselling and training supports (i.e., child care, transportation), as required. SkillsAdvance Ontario projects are funded in part by the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario.

This SkillsAdvance Ontario project will provide job-specific training for 24 participants in three eight-person sessions. The first of three sessions began on July 19, with sessions following in October and January.

“We have the opportunity to ensure the economic recovery includes everyone. This program offers a step in that direction, connecting people who are looking for meaningful jobs with an identified workforce need. We are grateful for the financial support of SkillsAdvance Ontario and we look forward to strengthening our new partnership with Indwell. Working together, we can create a stronger community.” - Ron McKerlie, President and CEO of Mohawk College

“Community social impact is at the core of Indwell’s intentional approach to community building. Following the successful pilot of the first Gather Culinary Academy just before the pandemic, we’re thrilled that it will continue through partnership with Mohawk College and SkillsAdvance Ontario. The commercial kitchen, generous learning spaces and supportive staff at Parkdale Landing will give students excellent training as they engage in their communities.” - Jeff Neven, CEO of Indwell

The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the urgency for enhanced care and cleaning in residential facilities in Hamilton and across the province. The funding provided by the Ontario government will help meet the demand for workers specifically trained in those areas.”Donna Skelly, MPP for Flamborough-Glanbrook

“As Ontario begins to reopen, we’re seeing an increase in demand for highly-skilled workers across all sectors. That’s why our government continues to invest in employment services and training programs like this one. This project is a great opportunity to gain hands-on experience in an in-demand field, whether you’re looking to enter, or re-enter the job market.” - Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development

To apply to participate in the program: