Christy Clark pulled a rabbit out of a hat according to many political pundits when she was re-elected B.C. Premier in May. I think her focus and message on job creation won the day for her in a surprising victory for the Liberal Party. Her new cabinet will continue to focus on creating jobs and building the province’s economy.

In April, Premier Christy Clark announced $7 million of one-time funding to 19 B.C. post-secondary institutions so that students will have increased access to regional training opportunities.

“Our skills and training plan is about training British Columbians for jobs that exist and this investment will help ensure training opportunities match industry. This fund will help our regions grow and ensures that students and current and future employers have the opportunities they need to fill the jobs available today,” said Premier Clark. 

The targeted skills training funding will allow the individual institutions to target specific short-term training that is needed to meet the regional labor market needs of industry. Introduction to trades, forestry boot camp, mining fundamentals and automotive technician foundation training are possible examples of this short-term training. Chalk one up for our natural resources jobs!

B.C. is recognizing the importance of connecting government, industry, and educational institutions in working together to identify and deliver skills training that matches labor market needs. Targeted training gives students access to specialist expertise that provides marketable skills and allows them to take on a family-wage earning job in their own community.

Most recently, Clark met with Alberta Premier Alison Redford and the two lady premiers are partnering for the benefit of their constituents in economic growth and jobs. Kudos to them for recognizing the synergy in uniting their focus.

This is a partnership concept that the Pacific Northwest, in particular, could stand to embrace in a more accelerated fashion. In January, I wrote about attracting young people to the forest products industry, especially in the industrial maintenance sector, and about what the six-plus year recession has done to our labor pool and transportation infrastructure. We know Oregon’s forest sector is positioned to increase market share and create new family wage jobs, but we don’t know where we’re going to get the skilled employees we’ll need to accommodate this growth.

In Tillamook, our company participates in a joint curriculum effort with Stimson Lumber, the Tillamook Creamery, and Port of Tillamook Bay Community College to offer young people training to prepare them for millwright and electrician careers – focused industrial apprenticeships rather than four-year college commitments. Other programs like this are taking hold in rural areas to attract young people who want to go to work right after high school, but want secure and safe family-wage paying jobs. Our industry can give them that.

After all, wood is good! Check out our job openings at Hampton Lumber Careers | Facebook.

Steve Zika
CEO, Hampton Lumber