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New Workforce Innovation Centre in Corner Brook set on fine-tuning province’s workforce to fit employment opportunities

Sharon McLennon, director of the Newfoundland and Labrador Workforce Innovation Centre, speaks to members of the Rotary Club of Corner Brook Thursday.
Sharon McLennon, director of the Newfoundland and Labrador Workforce Innovation Centre, speaks to members of the Rotary Club of Corner Brook Thursday. - Gary Kean

The Newfoundland and Labrador Workforce Innovation Centre is a new entity based out of Corner Brook with the goal of optimizing matches between employees and employers.

The centre is a partnership between the College of the North Atlantic and the provincial government and is situated at the college’s Corner Brook campus.

Its mandate is to help research and find ways to fill gaps in the workforce by making changes to the kinds of training employers require of prospective employees.

Sharon McLennon, the centre’s director, discussed the project during a presentation to the Rotary Club of Corner Brook Thursday.

“Our eye is always going to be on making sure the workforce is the right workforce for the right sectors so the province can prosper,” she said.

In particular, said McLennon, the centre wants to help groups of people who are underrepresented in the workforce. Those groups include Indigenous people, those on income support, youth, persons with disabilities, older workers, immigrants and workers in rural areas.

The centre will be hiring a social media coordinator in the coming weeks and will soon begin making its presence better known in the community.

“We’ll make sure the word gets out about who we are and also the opportunities to get engaged in this … higher purpose, in my mind, for the province,” said McLennon.

Core Functions of the Newfoundland and Labrador Workforce Innovation Centre

  • Research Projects (Proposal Funding): Provide proposal-based funding for applied research projects that test innovative approaches for better ways to address labour market issues and improve outcomes.
  • Body of Knowledge (Best Practices): Act as a repository and central access point for innovative employment and training practices and tools, including online access to research and best practices.
  • Knowledge Mobilization (Capacity Building): Disseminate the body of knowledge to stakeholders via training, information sessions, webinars and other capacity-building activities.
  • Community of Practice (Stakeholder Engagement): Engage a network of labour market partners to facilitate idea exchange, identify research opportunities, and share innovative approaches.

Eligible organizations for research project funding:

  • Community organizations (including not-for-profit, professional, employer and labour associations)
  • Municipal governments
  • Band/tribal councils and Indigenous organizations
  • Crown corporations
  • Businesses
  • Public health and educational institutions.

Source: The Newfoundland and Labrador Workforce Innovation Centre

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