A new provincial grant program aimed at smaller cities and towns will benefit five Central Alberta organizations to the tune of $267,000.
Last year, Alberta launched the two-year Community and Regional Economic Support program for economic development projects that communities might not be able to do on their own.
The grants, which are over two years, include: $100,000 to the Central Alberta Refugee Effort for their Alberta Global Talent – Equip to Employ Immigrants program; $88,000 to Central Alberta: Access Prosperity for their International Business Development Program; $50,000 to the Red Deer Visitor and Convention Bureau for the Central Alberta Tourism Alliance Accommodation Study; $10,250 to the City of Red Deer for the Downtown Residential Attraction Study; and $19,391 to the Town of Ponoka for its Ponoka Information Kiosk project.
One of the recipients, Central Alberta Refugee Effort, will use the funds to further its program aimed at helping employers be more successful in hiring and utilizing skilled immigrants, said Frank Bauer, executive director.
More and more that the Canadian and Alberta economies will depend on immigrants to join the workforce because of the country’s aging population, he said.
The program includes aiding employers in understanding different habits and cultures when it comes to interviewing and addressing any issues that might come up between staff members because of misunderstandings. It’s about keeping immigrants and getting the most out of them, Bauer said.
Response from employers overall has been positive, Bauer said.
Pam Steckler, with Central Alberta: Access Prosperity, said they are working on an international business development program that’s designed to work with entrepreneurs who are looking to expand their business service or product into an international market.
It allows a client to assess the direction they want to go, assists them to make sure they are on the right track, and helps those interested in diversification, Steckler said.
The funding was announced on Wednesday by Red Deer-South MLA Barb Miller, on behalf of Economic Development and Trade Minister Deron Bilous.
The second intake for the Community and Regional Economic Support grant program will run from April 1 to May 31. Eligibility criteria and more information on how to apply are available at www.jobsplan.alberta.ca.