May 29th, 2024

Gov’t funding jobs program


By Al Beeber on November 13, 2021.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDabeeber@lethbridgeherald.com

The Alberta government is taking applications for the second round of the Alberta Jobs Now program.
With funding of $370 million split between the Alberta and federal governments, Labour Minister Tyler Shandro said Friday in a phone conference with members of the Alberta Weekly Newspaper Association that is the largest jobs program in the history of Alberta.
The first intake for the program closed on July 23 but Shandro is urging employers who didn’t make the cut to apply again.
The second phase is retroactive to the first phase when applications were cut off. The government is “encouraging any employer if you weren’t successful in that first phase, apply again because we have changed our criteria and we want you to apply again and hopefully be successful this round,” Shandro said.
Improvements have been make to the program, Shandro told media. These improvements are aimed at helping more Albertans get back to work and help businesses grow.
According to the alberta.ca website, businesses and organizations that were created within the last year can now apply to the program and the minimum hours people must work has been reduced from 30 hours to 15 hours per week.
Employers can now apply for as many as 10 new hires. On a case-by-case basis, employers may receive an exemption for up to 20 new hires if they can demonstrate a substantial need.
Employers will have up to 90 days to recruit for positions approved under the program.
The program is open to private sector business and non-profit organizations across all industry to reduce the costs of hiring and training people.
The announcement was made on Tuesday.
“We made a number of changes to kind of widen the net and capture more employers so more folks are applying. But also that when they are applying, because we know a lot of employers are just going to hire the right person for the job regardless of what the requirements might be for program like this, that those folks they are hiring are people that they can then get that subsidy.
“So we made a number of those changes announced on Tuesday. Some of the changes relate to reducing by half the number of hours an employee has to work in a week from 30 to 15 so we’re also putting a lot of part-time employees” to work, Shandro said.
“But also probably the biggest change is taking away the former requirement the person you hired had to be previously unemployed so, because as I said a lot of employers are just going to be hiring the right person for the right job, a lot of those folks they are hiring were employed at the time and so in the end a lot of those employers in that first traunch didn’t actually ended up getting the grant.
“This is quite frankly the largest jobs program in the history of the province and we need to more quickly get the money to the hands of these job creators and get more folks in the province hired,” said Shandro.
Shandro said 473 businesses applied to create almost 2,000 jobs in the first round of grants.
He added the province had so many applications coming in the spring that it had close off those applications and process as many as it could.
“We realized that because the criteria was so tight, we weren’t actually getting these subsidies out to our employers,” Shandro said.
The government met with job creators and learned the best way of getting them the grants.
“Hearing from them and some of their concerns, why some of them were successful and then being able to revamp this second phase of the program so that we got more employers being successful in their applications and more jobs created,” he said.
“We were quite concerned with our high unemployment rates in 2020 and wanted to be able to have a big dent at those unemployment numbers through this jobs program. But I think we did get a lot of feedback from employers on how we can make these changes that we announced this week to make sure more of them were successful.”

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