‘Now Hiring Hamilton’ seeks to help small, medium-sized businesses with worker shortages

Fresh off the May long weekend and job shortages are at an all time high. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Hamilton’s small and medium-sized businesses are getting some help tackling worker shortages.

Mohawk College and the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce have teamed up to launch Now Hiring Hamilton, a provincially- and federally-funded initiative that looks to help those companies with fewer resources improve their long-term staffing outcomes and find people to work in difficult-to-fill positions.

Keanin Loomis, the Chamber’s president and CEO, said Hamilton’s small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are essential to the city’s economic landscape, but they often face challenges finding workers with the right skills.

“Historically, SMEs in Hamilton have had limited resources and ability to maintain the successful recruitment, onboarding, and retainment of employees … largely due to a lack of human resources staffing,” he said during a media availability on Wednesday.

Story continues below advertisement

“And I know that just from our own organization, where I’m not just the CEO, but I’m the top human resource professional as well.”

According to a literature review compiled for the project, about 95 per cent of Hamilton businesses fall into the category of an SME, with fewer than 50 employees.

The review also cites a report that found the city has lost about 46,000 jobs since the beginning of the pandemic, a decrease of about 36 per cent.

During the first phase of the project, which began last April, it was determined that the most in-demand entry-level positions that were most difficult to fill were jobs like material handlers, customer and information service representatives, sales and accountant representatives, and labourers in manufacturing, processing and utilities.

This latest phase of the project involves getting feedback from SMEs through focus groups and a survey on the project’s website.

In April, all of the findings will be compiled into a resource guide that will help those companies with hiring, onboarding, and retention.

Ron McKerlie, president and CEO of Mohawk College, said the college will have a crucial role to play in addressing any gaps in training that employers highlight during the consultation phase.

Story continues below advertisement

“This partnership will contribute to the sustainability and the vibrancy of small to medium-sized enterprises that serve as the foundation of our economy, and to support job growth across our community,” said McKerlie.

Click to play video: 'St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton nurse reduces working hours amid burn out'
St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton nurse reduces working hours amid burn out

Sponsored content