CAAP looking for relationships with the unemployed, underemployed

Forget Sleepless in Seattle.

Forget Sleepless in Seattle.

Central Alberta: Access Prosperity is looking for relationships with the unemployed and underemployed in Seattle.

The economic development organization is taking part in an Aug. 11 to 16 recruitment trip to the Washington city in hopes of luring skilled workers to the Red Deer region. It’s piggybacking on a project organized by Edmonton Economic Development Corp. in conjunction with Syncrude Canada Ltd., Suncor Energy Inc., PCL and Finning Canada.

Because of Finning’s strong presence in Red Deer, Central Alberta: Access Prosperity was invited to take part, said manager Gary Slipp.

“Our purpose in going would be to represent the region and let those employees that come to the event know that there are a lot of opportunities here as well.”

Although Central Alberta employers won’t be able to participate directly, they can notify Central Alberta: Access Prosperity of their labour needs. Danielle Klooster, the organization’s business retention, expansion and investment officer, is travelling with the group and will make those needs known, said Slipp.

Among the skills already on the delegation’s wish list are heavy equipment technicians, welders, steamfitters/pipefitters, power engineers and construction professionals.

In addition to Seattle, the Edmonton Economic Development contingent will be beating the bushes in other parts of Washington and in Oregon.

Slipp said the decision to target this area resulted from research into where workers with skills needed in Alberta were at.

“They found out Seattle had an excess.”

Americans interested in offering their services north of the border could do so on a temporary basis, noted Slipp.

“It’s hoped that the people who will come, take up permanent residence.”

Although some might be reluctant to relocate to Alberta, Slipp believes they might be persuaded with information about the province — or better still, by coming here and seeing the region for themselves.

Central Alberta: Access Prosperity is probably best known for its mandate to attract foreign direct investment to this area. But Slipp stressed that labour attraction is also an important part of its work.

“It’s a key element for sure; it shares the limelight with investment attraction.

“We can’t really have one without the other.”

Slipp said the Seattle trip could set the stage for similar recruitment projects with a greater focus on local labour needs.

“Our plan is to learn from this experience and then develop a similar mission specific to Central Alberta businesses for 2013.”

Such a trip could target other places where skilled workers are having a tough time finding relevant employment, such as Western Europe or the U.S. Midwest.

Central Alberta employers that want to make their labour needs known for the Seattle project or participate in similar trips in the future can contact Slipp at 403-342-3103 or at gary.slipp@accessprosperity.ca.

hrichards@bprda.wpengine.com

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