Ponoka Chamber hears about employment help that’s available

Workforce consultant speaks about assistance employers can receive

Employment, more specifically how the province can help, was the main topic at a business gathering last week.

Moyra Kennedy, a workforce consultant with Alberta’s Ministry of Labour based in Wetaskiwin, was the guest speaker at the monthly meeting of the Ponoka and District Chamber of Commerce held at the Ponoka Golf Club June 19.

Kennedy is one of 22 consultants around Alberta, whose main job is to work with employers while also answering general inquiries.

“We redirect these inquiries to the proper departments or individuals as well as initiating and maintaining relationships and partnerships with employers, organizations and stakeholders,” she told the audience of about 20.

“We simply focus on dealing with the workforce elements within Alberta with an objective of facilitating attraction and retention of the workforce. To help with that, I am out trying to build key partnerships and use multiple department and business approach in addition to collaborating with labour organizations, municipalities, chambers, First Nations and many others.”

While she noted there are a variety of ways to achieve those initiatives, part of her job also involves knowing what is going on with business in the region and ensure the people that can make change are well-informed.

“I collect information and listen to what employers are saying in regards to issues, challenges and problems,” Kennedy said.

“I also report to those up the ladder, in the sense of letting them know what is going on so that hopefully those powers that be get a better feel and understanding.”

That work with business often includes helping by connecting them with various grants that are available along with hosting speakers that focus on workforce specific topics.

“We need to be flexible and responsible in our timing to meet the needs of employers. So, as you change, also we change,” she noted.

For businesses looking for assistance or have questions, they are asked to call Kennedy at (780) 361-5892.

Chamber business

Chamber president Barry Grant explained the organization is in great shape after a very successful trade show this year.

He noted the financial statements presented at the meeting show the trade show’s overall profit was almost $5,300 higher than in 2017, which led to a higher overall gain of about $2,600 for the first five months this year when compared to 2017. The total 2018 financial figures show that so far net income has increased nearly $6,000 over last year.

A pair of other coming events were talked about — the annual Chamber Business Awards and the new Chamber Speaker Series.

The awards, with the Golden Night theme, is set for Oct. 19, while the Speaker Series will kick off with renown ATB Financial chief economist Todd Hirsch on Sept. 26.

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