The federal government has announced funding for two projects that will connect workers with careers in the forest products and wood manufacturing sectors.

The Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) is receiving over $1 million to create an online database for the forest products sector that will include information on available jobs based on skills and geography. It will also provide a variety of forecasts to help both employers and job seekers anticipate what skills will be in demand.

In the second project, the Wood Manufacturing Council (WMC) is receiving more than $878,000 to study the human resource challenges facing the sector. In addition, it will update the skills requirements for five professions—finisher, wood machinery operator, supervisor, assembler and computer numerically controlled operator—to ensure the current standards are up to date and relevant.

Accurate job market information helps workers connect with available, in-demand jobs while ensuring that employers have workers with the skills they need to help their businesses prosper. It also assists training institutions to align their training with the skills that employers are looking for.

The Canadian forest products industry generates revenues of $58 billion annually. With almost half of its production exported every year, Canada is the largest exporter of forest products in the world.

The sector employs about 230,000 workers in approximately 200 communities. Labour market forecasts show the forest products sector may soon face a shortage of skilled workers due to retirements and industry changes that are creating new types of jobs.

The advanced wood products manufacturing sector produces veneer, plywood, and engineered wood products, such as furniture. Due to rapidly changing technologies and business practices, there is an increasing need for higher-skilled workers in the wood manufacturing sector, which could result in a future skills shortage.

The federal government’s Sectoral Initiatives Program aims to address current and future skills shortages by supporting the development, distribution and use of labour market information, national occupational standards and skills certification and accreditation programs.

“Under Vision2020, the forest sector is looking to hire 60,000 workers by the end of the decade,” said David Lindsay, president and CEO, FPAC. “The Sectoral Initiatives Program under ESDC is a tremendous tool in the industry’s toolbox, allowing us to craft, design and develop a smart online method of tracking labour market information across the country, which will help link job seekers with employers.

“The JobLink tool is part of TheGreenestWorkforce initiative and will be launched in 2016. The data captured will provide real-time labour market information regionally, provincially and nationally, while also providing Canadians with accurate employment forecasts and trends in the sector.”