Begun in 2016, the 15-month effort to develop Kingston’s Workforce Development & In-migration Strategy involved more than 150 participants and numerous community organizations that collectively contributed to the design of a comprehensive workforce development strategy for the community. Consultation sessions were held with employers, educators, businesses, agencies, workers and students, representing all sectors, from the arts and healthcare to the trades and technology.
Local needs, aspirations and ideas for creating a productive workforce in the Kingston community were considered. By design, the proposed Strategy leveraged partnerships by focusing specifically on actions that were to be undertaken at a community level rather than by organizations on their own. Endorsed by City Council in April 2017 and by several major community partners soon after, the Strategy was designed to guide the implementation of initiatives that collectively set out to address the current and future needs of our local workforce as part of a smart, innovative city. The vision was to develop a thriving workforce ecosystem of jobs, opportunities, workplaces and community supports such that Kingston retains and equips its labour force with skills that match workforce demands, and continues to become a top choice for talent looking to relocate and grow.
As part of its endorsement in 2017, Kingston City Council allocated seed funding to establish the Strategy Implementation Office to lead the implementation of the Workforce and In-Migration Strategy. The Strategy Implementation Office was assigned responsibility to provide support and leadership to collaboratively implement the following recommended initiatives:
01 Help employers
to offer the most appealing workplaces, and deploy recruitment and retention practices that will be outstanding in a competitive talent marketplace;
02 Work collaboratively
to integrate processes and navigation systems that match employers with talent, and also with local employment or community services; and
03 Actively market
“what it means to work in Kingston” – Kingston’s employment brand – through experiential branding, signature events and consistent messaging from multiple points of communication.
The Strategy Implementation Office (SIO) is mandated to provide overall project management and support, ensuring the alignment of each working group, and facilitating cross-collaboration across working groups wherever appropriate. With the additional supporting roles of best practices research, sourcing of funds, and management of logistics, the SIO aims to position each working group for success, allowing them to narrow in on the development of innovative projects that address the current and future needs of Kingston’s workforce.
Over 71 community leaders have participated in 7 active working groups, and over 30 action-oriented meetings have taken place over the past 6 months.
Six focus groups with 43 community-leader participants have been held, and 31 organizations, institutions, and businesses have been represented in the overall project. The seven active working groups are centred on identified areas of opportunity as outlined in the Workforce Development & In-migration Strategy, and are as follows:
- Inclusive Workplaces Working Group
- Strategic Human Resources (HR) Working Group
- Employment Brand Working Group
- Tapping Into Talent Working Group
- Data Analytics Working Group
- Spousal Employment Working Group
- Career Pathways Working Group