As a Council, we've made an even stronger commitment to supporting growth through economic development and tourism initiatives. We developed an Economic Development Sub-Committee to help increase Council's focus on economic development and approved additional staff resources to support and implement our strategies.
These strategies are driven through partnerships with regional businesses, service providers and various levels of government, and focus on supporting labour and creating jobs in our region. According to Statistics Canada, 2,030 new jobs were created in Simcoe County this past year. We intend to do all we can, through smart and creative initiatives, to help attract, grow and support our economy and increase jobs.
It's almost been a year since we reprioritized our economic direction, our increased focus has led to some tremendous outcomes:
- In partnership with the Simcoe Muskoka Workforce Development Board, www.jobcentralsm.ca was launched in June 2015
- We hosted our first ever online Job Fair connecting employers to job seekers in an online space. The event connected 2,882 job seekers to more than 80 employers – resulting approximately 1,800 one-on-one conversations and interviews
- Approximately 800 participants attended a series of regional food entrepreneurship seminars during the provincial AMI conference that was hosted in Simcoe County
- Our 'made-in-Simcoe County' Land Inventory portal was launched earlier this year to assist potential businesses in finding a home in Simcoe County www.edo.simcoe.ca/properties
- County Council approved a multi-year funding program for our member municipalities valued at $1.4-million. This funding will help our municipalities to support local economic efforts with the ultimate goal to attract, grow and support business growth and expansion.
- To support regional tourism branding, County Council approved $400,000 a year in funding following the Destination Marketing Organisation model
- We partnered with the Simcoe Muskoka Workforce Development Board to host the Premier's Highly Skilled Workforce Strategy Expert Panel (April 5, 2016). This event provided our region with the opportunity to provide input directly to the Expert Panel which was established to assess how well our workforce is positioned to meet the needs of Ontario's economy. The Panel will be recommending an integrated approach for the government to bridge education, training and skills development with the demands of an evolving economic landscape.
We have boots on the ground, and momentum working in our favour. I am sure that 2016 will see us continue to build on our accomplishments and support our economy, businesses, employees and job seekers in achieving their dreams and goals.
Simcoe County Warden