Labour crisis hits Rocky Mountain House
Human resources experts have long warned about a looming labour shortage in Alberta. For many Rocky Mountain House employers, the crisis has already arrived.
Last month, Statistics Canada calculated the unemployment rate for the Banff-Rocky Mountain House-Jasper region at 3.7 per cent — well below the Red Deer rate of 5.5 per cent and the province’s seasonally adjusted average of 4.5 per cent. Such a scarcity of human capital can have a devastating effect on a business, said Michelle Andrishak, small business adviser at the Rural Alberta Business Centre in Rocky.
“It will affect your profitability, it will affect your customer service, it will affect any kind of expansion or growth opportunities that might come your way,” she said. “If you don’t have the staff to put your business out there and serve the customer correctly, you don’t have a business.”
The Rural Alberta Business Centre is teaming up with other community organizations to offer a solution in the form of the Employee Attraction Retention Network (EARN).
Developed by Alberta Works, the program is designed to teach employers how to make the most of the human resources that are available.
“Quite often, we’re finding that the employers just aren’t really aware of what new tools are available to them in order to attract the people that they’re really looking for,” said Andrishak. “
There are other markets — such as seniors and youth and Aboriginals — that they could be tapping into, but just don’t know where to get started.”
The Rural Alberta Business Centre and its partners hope to offer periodic training sessions, beginning with one on Oct. 29. Scheduled for 7:30 to 10 a.m. at the Lou Soppit Community Centre, it will feature a presentation by Kristin Cumming. A consultant, speaker and educator, Cumming specializes in demographics, and worker recruitment and retention.
Andrishak said EARN sessions will also provide information about the labour market, and give participants the opportunity to network and share best practices.
The other organizations behind the initiative are the Rocky Community Learning Council, Career Assistance Network, and Rocky Mountain House and District Chamber of Commerce, as well as the Town of Rocky Mountain House and Clearwater County.
The cost to attend the Oct. 29 event, which includes breakfast, is $15 for those who pre-register, or $20 at the door. Advance registrations can be completed by calling the Rocky Community Learning Council at 403-845-4544.
Other EARN events are planned for January and April, said Andrishak.
“We’re shooting for quarterly breakfast learning opportunities.”