An Aboriginal Solution to Manitoba's Imminent Skills Shortage

    WINNIPEG, Oct. 15 /CNW/ - Manitoba Workforce Connex, an innovative and
results-driven forum designed to address the province's pending skilled trades
shortage, will be held today and Tuesday at the Winnipeg Convention Centre.
For the first time, many employers will learn about their ability to develop
and access Aboriginal talent through Aboriginal employment centres. This
knowledge will help human resource professionals develop strategies to
effectively recruit and retain the province's untapped Aboriginal workforce.
    Manitoba's labour supply is expected to begin declining in 2011 due to a
decrease in anticipated population growth. The issue will only intensify as
projected growth in several sectors of the economy begins to take shape. Today
Manitoba's economic players are in an ideal position to do the preliminary
work necessary to ensure a skilled workforce is available to meet upcoming
demands. Workforce Connex will provide employers, the Aboriginal community,
training institutions and government with the ability to start the preliminary
work that is necessary to ensure a skilled and local workforce is available to
meet upcoming demands in the trades and apprenticeship sector.
    "Canada is experiencing an Aboriginal baby boom," said Kelly Lendsay,
President and CEO of the Aboriginal Human Resource Council (AHRC). "Aboriginal
people are the nation's youngest and fastest growing human resource. This
young upwardly mobile labour force wants and needs workplace opportunities for
training, skills development and employment."
    According to Statistics Canada's 2001 Census, the average median age of
the Aboriginal population in Manitoba is 23.5, considerably lower than the
average median age of the Canadian population at 38.8. From 1996 to 2001, the
Canadian working age population grew by five per cent, while the Aboriginal
labour force grew by 25 per cent.
    "On a national scale, a disconnect exists between the potential skills
contribution made by the Aboriginal workforce and the view held by some
business and labour leaders on this contribution," said Lendsay. "Employers
participating in Manitoba Workforce Connex are innovative thinkers motivated
to develop an Aboriginal presence in their workforce and become an
employer-of-choice for top Aboriginal talent."

    Workforce Connex is a national forum series hosted by the Aboriginal
Human Resource Council in cooperation with the Manitoba regional planning
committee (Government of Manitoba, Government of Canada. Manitoba Hydro,
Aboriginal Chamber of Commerce, Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak Inc., Centre
for Aboriginal Human Resource Development Inc., First Peoples Development
Inc., Manitoba Métis Federation, Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, Manitoba
Federation of Labour, Wuskwatim & Keeyask Training Consortium, Inter
Provincial Association on Native Employment).
    This forum is the eighth held in the series, with more scheduled for
2007/08. The outcomes of the forum will be integrated into a national private
sector/Aboriginal partnership strategy. Funding for Manitoba Workforce Connex
is provided through the Sector Council Program, Human Resources and Social
Development Canada and the Manitoba Government, with support from Comstock,
Manitoba Hydro and RBC Financial.

For further information:

For further information: PEGGY BERNDT, Director of Communications and
Marketing, Aboriginal Human Resource Council, tf: (866) 711-5091, c: (780)
720-1118,, w:

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Aboriginal Human Resource Council

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