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Alberta Launches Its Canada Jobs Grant Program

Alberta has just launched its version of the highly controversial, federally-funded Canada Job Grant Program. But will this mean thousands of jobs will be created for tens of thousands of unemployed Albertans?

To be honest, no.

This program is only controversial if you are a politician, are in the media or are an organization that receives government funding to help unemployed and under-employed people in Canada.

The truth is, Canadian job seekers and employers are often too busy to look at grants while trying to find a match between what they have to offer and what is out there in the market place. Grants are little more than a distraction for most, but hopefully some employers and job seekers will find this program will make a difference.

Who will this program attract?

I’ll break it down:

Unemployed and employed individuals are eligible to receive funding if supported by an employer. Unemployed Canadians or Permanent Residents who can convince an employer to put up 1/3 of the funds required for a training program worth up to $15,000 can take advantage of the Canada Job Grant in Alberta.

Considering that 31% of employees receive some non-formal training from their employer, and that the average Canadian employer invests $750 in training annually for its existing employees, it is unlikely a lot of employers will be funding people who just send in resumes.

However, there will be some exceptions, like a great pre-apprenticeship program that I know of sponsored by a mining company for high school students interested in getting into Electrical and Heavy Duty Mechanic Apprenticeships.

Wide array of choices

The wide number of training options include post-secondary institutions, private vocational schools, unions, industry associations and private trainers. The only real exceptions are internal training programs: as long as the training is done through an external party and an employer is willing to fund 1/3 of its cost, it looks like anything is fair game as long as it leads to filling a vacant position.

It is logical that most employers will fund training for existing employees who can then fill a vacant position through a promotion. Hopefully, by training employees through the Job Grant Program, vacant entry level positions will become available for the unemployed.

There will be a number of cases where an employer is willing to invest in unemployed Canadians and provide money for training. It will be a great thing when it happens in large numbers, but in the meantime, we can expect the Canada’s Job Grant to help those who already have jobs.