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The funding will be split across 10 projects that will test new ways to retrain workers in fields that are being disrupted by technology. A project in Calgary, for example, will train oil and gas workers for jobs in the tech sector. Cashiers and meat-processing workers across the country will test training programs for higher-skilled food-retail jobs. And, adult learners in Manitoba will participate in programs that examine “learner shock,” described as anxiety or frustration around mid-career transitions. (The Logic)

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Talking point: This mid-career training is what Dominic Barton, chair of Canada’s Economic Growth Council, identified as critical for filling the gap between workers’ skills and job opportunities—that, in turn, was the impetus for creating the Future Skills Centre. These projects only begin to address that problem, however: following the testing period, the centre will have to take what they’ve learned from the pilots and turn them into programs that governments, universities and employers can use. And, while the federal government has earmarked $225 million for the Ryerson-led initiative over four years, the centre has yet to determine who will fund the programs once the testing period is over.

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Barata will be the first person to lead the Ryerson University-led Future Skills Centre in Toronto, starting on September 1. The centre was launched in February with federal government funding to study gaps between skills and opportunities in the labour market. (The Logic)

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Talking point: At United Way Greater Toronto, Barata oversaw research on how the changing nature of work impacts income inequality and how provinces can address the skills gap. In May, the charity pledged $3.5 million for youth training and networking programs, including grants for groups working with Indigenous, Black and LGBTQ youth. The Future Skills Centre’s mandate includes coordinating with universities, employers and governments across the provinces and territories on how they can incorporate the research that comes from the centre.

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Employment Minister Patty Hajdu and Finance Minister Bill Morneau delivered the long-awaited news that Ryerson University—along with Blueprint and the Conference Board of Canada—was selected to run the initiative. The government has pledged $225 million for the Future Skills Centre over four years, with $75 million annually after that to carry out projects meant to close the widening skills gap. The 15-member Future Skills Council was also named today; the group will advise the centre on what projects to fund. (The Logic)

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Talking point: Sources close to the selection process shared concerns with The Logic last year about the centre’s ability to fill Canada’s skills gap, in part because the winning bid (chosen months ago) is Toronto-centric and led by a university. A pan-Canadian consortium that featured more entrepreneurial and diverse partners would be better positioned to fill the gap, several sources expressed. The government may be attempting to stem that concern with the council, whose members overwhelmingly represent Indigenous people, and French and blue-collar Canadians. That could be a good thing, so long as the Ryerson group heeds the council’s advice.

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Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains announced $1.1 million in funding on Wednesday for Palette, an organization that matches companies with talent. The funding will help launch a pilot to retrain mid-career workers whose jobs are threatened by automation. The first program will focus on training for new skills related to sales. At the end of it, participants will be placed with one of several tech companies in the Toronto area, including D2L, Ceridian, Moneris and Clearbanc. (BetaKit)

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Talking point: The federal government has made it a priority to address the changing labour market. This new funding—while relatively small—is on top of the $225 million it’s rolling out to the Ryerson University-led Future Skills Centre, which is also tasked with filling Canada’s skills gap in the face of more automation. That project is moving slow; so far, it’s announced just six projects that are predominantly focused on studying the skills gap. Palette’s program is more practical and immediate, by placing workers directly with companies after just a few weeks.