By Heather Cameron
Westwind Weekly News
Taber Economic Development has several Rural Renewal Community and Employer Learning Luncheons scheduled for 2024 in the region.
“The purpose of the Rural Renewal Community and Employer Luncheon is to educate employers on how they can utilize this program to hire full-time, year-round workers who want to live and work in our communities,” said Rylan Howard, Alberta Advantage Immigration Program Coordinator. “We are building community capacity for the newcomers by collaborating with service groups and local champions to build a welcoming community.”
Howard says that the ongoing luncheons will slowly transition from information sessions to education with special guests presenting on a variety of relevant topics. The first luncheon took place on January 24, 2024 at Coaldale Civic Square and involved an orientation, lunch, networking opportunities, and a session on Community Engagement, Collaboration, and Planning.
The next events will take place on February 21 in Milk River, March 20 in Taber, April 17 in Coaldale Civic Square, May 15 in Cardston, and June 19 in Taber. Attendees to the luncheons, Howard says, can expect an employer information session in the Morning from 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM, followed by a free lunch and networking opportunity, picking up again from 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM. Howard says that each luncheon is an open community engagement session to discuss the Newcomers arriving and the opportunities to help them be successful in our community.
“Employers will discover the process of hiring foreign candidates through this program and will also be provided resources regarding newcomer integration in the workplace,” said Howard. “The afternoon session is not only just to provide information regarding this program to the general community, but also give community groups a platform to share which services they offer and discover how we can collaborate with the resources we have to build a welcoming community plan. Reaching out to employers and community service groups regarding this program is of utmost importance to us moving into 2024. We have been able to build a strong network of educated employers and community groups in the Town of Taber. This year, we want to use that template of success in all of our designated communities to learn, collaborate and grow our communities.”
The Rural Renewal Stream, Howard says, under the Alberta Advantage Immigration Program (AAIP), offers eligible workers an opportunity to relocate and work in the Town of Taber, MD of Taber, Lethbridge County, Picture Butte, Coaldale, Raymond, Cardston, and the Town of Milk River. Howard says that as a Provincial Nominee, with support from the community, those workers can apply for permanent residency and Provincial Nominees will fill labour shortages that local business owners are experiencing.
The Rural Renewal Stream will expand our regional workforce and promote economic stability and growth in our rural communities,” said Howard. “The Town of Taber became designated to facilitate this program in July 2022. The Town was approached by our local business owners expressing their concerns to Council over the lack of available labour in our area. Many of them were working multiple shifts to stay open or had varied hours or services to stay in business. As the program progressed, we have seen business owners find their feet. Not only that but many expand their businesses or opened other businesses. Since then, we have had surrounding communities join under our designation, and since we began this program, we have filled over 150 jobs in our area which employers were not able to fill locally. This initiative is not just for us, but also for wellbeing of the newcomers entering our communities. By educating employers on all aspects of this program, and collaborating with service groups, we will help create welcoming communities for newcomers.”
For more information on the Rural Renewal Community and Employer Learning Luncheons, contact Rylan Howard at firstname.lastname@example.org.