After initial planning the Resident Engagement strategy with TCBN’s general membership, TCBN has worked closely with the Social Research and Demonstration Corporation, Toronto Workforce Innovations Group and University of Toronto Researcher James Nugent to develop and test a model for connecting priority communities of interest to Apprenticeship training that will lead to jobs building the Eglinton Crosstown line. Engaging priority areas of Toronto through joint action with community-host groups, TCBN has recruited over 330 prospective candidates from communities of interest and provided them with an orientation to the trades and an introduction to Employment Ontario services.
To date, eight resident engagement sessions have been held with community-hosts and four knowledge exchange sessions have been held with our workforce development partners. Community hosts have included For Youth Initiative and Women for Change for the west end; Out of the Box and Working Women’s Centre at the Victoria Park Hub; the Interfaith Network/Toronto Islamic Society serving the Thorncliffe and Flemingdon communities; South Asian Women’s Rights Organization in the Oakridge community (Pharmacy and Danforth); and Philippine Advancement Through Arts and Culture (PATAC) in mid-Scarborough. A database with profiles of the resident participants has been set up, and work is ongoing to link them to opportunities in advance of the Crosstown start.
The pilot round of Resident Engagement was completed on July 30th with a focus group session on opportunities and challenges for women in the trades, co-hosted with our partner the YWCA. The session was well attended by 47 women, most already in pre-apprenticeship training. Valuable insights were generated for how to connect more women into training for the trades.
TCBN is greatly appreciative to the support given by all of our trades ambassadors from Labourers, Carpenters, Sheet Metal Workers, Iron Workers and Electricians; to our Employment Ontario agency partners and TESS for their planning input and operational assistance; to the Social Research and Demonstration Corporation team for their insights in design of the jobs pipeline; and to United Way for the LMP Project guidance and financing.