Members of Parliament Praise WEST's Electrical Pre-Apprenticeship Program for Women | St. Clair College
Tuesday, August 16, 2022
MPs with WEST students

Two Members of Parliament recently paid a visit to students of the first Electrical Pre-Apprenticeship program for Women to celebrate them achieving their training goals.

The Electrical Pre-Apprenticeship Program for Women is led by Women's Enterprise Skills Training of Windsor, Inc. (WEST) in partnership with St. Clair College and provides free tuition and paid placements to help women develop technical skills and gain employment in the skilled trades sector. Since 1987, WEST has provided 50,000 women in Windsor-Essex with support and programs to aid in securing employment, enhancing skills and providing services designed to help them adapt and integrate into Canadian culture.

The Honourable Ahmed Hussein – Minister of Diversity, Inclusion and Youth of Canada, as well as Irek Kusmierczyk, Member of Parliament for Windsor-Tecumseh and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Employment, Workplace Development and Disability Inclusion, joined St. Clair College President Dr. Patti France at the Windsor campus. They toured the campus and finished their visit at the Centre for Construction Innovation & Production (C.C.I.P.) to congratulate and celebrate with participants of the program – including newcomers, racialized and L.G.B.T.Q. women - for taking steps to explore careers in the skilled trades to meet evolving labour market needs and skills shortages.

Earlier in the day, Minister Hussein and MP Kusmierczyk announced a $90M contribution from the Government of Canada towards a $170M investment to repair 4,700 community homes in Windsor-Essex. Minister Hussein said that a program such as WEST's Electrical Pre-Apprenticeship for Women is "extremely important" toward filling jobs in the significant skilled labour shortage in Canada.

"We need more people to join the skilled trades, particularly underrepresented groups," said Minister Hussein, who admitted there are over 1.03 million unfulfilled skilled trade jobs in Canada. "There is such a high demand for new people to join the skilled trades, and programs like WEST's are crucial for us to be able to build more housing and infrastructure in Canada. We have a target of doubling the number of new homes built in Canada in the next ten years, but we can't do that without having more people in the skilled trades and building trades."

MP Kusmierczyk, who has represented Windsor-Tecumseh riding in the House of Commons since 2019, described the Electrical Pre-Apprenticeship program for Women as transformational.

"We need to replicate this program and do this repeatedly to get more women and more underrepresented groups in the skilled trades. It's critical for Canada and communities like ours," said MP Kusmierczyk. "We need skilled workers, period. It is a crisis here in Canada to ensure we have the required skilled workers. We need folks that do wiring, that can weld, that can build homes."

The Ministry of Labour funds the Electrical Pre-Apprenticeship Program for Women, Immigration, Training and Skills Development of Ontario under the Skills Development Fund. A six-session series of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (E.D.I.) training is also provided to employers and journeypersons to create more inclusive workplace settings and better future retention of women in a traditionally male-dominated workforce.

Brett Hedges