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Funding For Jewish Vocational Services Linked to Pandemic-related IT Demand

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Monte McNaughton, Ontario Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development approved a program at Jewish Vocational Services (JVS) to train women for jobs in cybersecurity.

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The Ontario government is investing $1.8 million in five new projects in the Greater Toronto Area that aim to re-train up to 315 people for employment in Ontario’s IT and tech sector. I interviewed Monte McNaughton, the Ontario Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development about his approving a program at Jewish Vocational Services (JVS). The announcement said the monies were dedicated to addressing the growing need for professionals in cybersecurity. The focus in supporting JVS was on employing women in the field.  

McNaughton shared that the program was funded to ensure that “Ontario is investing heavily in training for in demand jobs. With COVID 19 changing the way we work, the crisis brought forth opportunities for jobs in cybersecurity.” He explained that Labour Training and Skills Development had a program called ‘skills catalyst funding’ where they solicited proposals, and this is from the second round of funding. JVS submitted a response, which perfectly matched the anticipated need.

“I want to congratulate JVS,” McNaughton said in praise of the applicant, “this is filling an important gap in the economy”. He noted that “30,000 of 200,000 of the unfilled jobs are in the skilled trades and only 6 per cent in Ontario are women.”By comparison, he noted, “(In) Newfoundland and Labrador women make up 20 percent of the jobs in the trades”.

McNaughton believes this training program will close a major part of that gap and assist in the economic recovery. Ontario lost 1.2 million jobs in the first few months of the pandemic and only half have come back so far, and supports funding going towards short duration training to speed the recovery. 

In addition to the support JVS is receiving, other programs announced will help 2300 young people be trained or upskilled to have careers in advanced manufacturing or automotive manufacturing. In addition, there will be a program training military vets to learn IT web development skills. Fifty per cent of participants have already been offered jobs.

All of which is laudable. But …

If we do the math, the Government will be providing JVS with funding of $3178.53 per student to complete the program (which includes training supplied by Cyberwall, a third-party training company). The program also provides career coaching, resume building, and placement services by Jewish Vocational Services.  

 Through fact checking, I found that the same program is offered by Cyberwall for $2100 – and the services added by JVS are always provided at no cost to the job seeker.

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I then connected with Amy Plourde of JVS. She informed me that there were over 100 applicants for the initial cohort of 15 openings to the program. Cyberwall and JVS analysed resumes and backgrounds to pick the candidates who were unemployed or underemployed, were underrepresented (mainly women and minorities), and were likely to have a long career in cybersecurity. The second cohort will begin in October and is already full.

If you have interest in retraining as a cybersecurity analyst, there are still opportunities for those who weren’t lucky enough to be chosen for the government funded training.  

Another local provider, Adaleg IT offers a similar IT training program, often with opportunities to apply for financial support where students can learn now, pay later via payroll deduction once you get placed in a job.  

Menachem Feuer, founder of Adaleg IT has also offered opportunities for ‘free’ where potential employers pay to train a talent pool due to difficulties in filling these specialized roles within their organization. Adaleg IT is an Amazon Web Services Academy as well as a Cisco certified training academy, both skills which are highly needed in the industry. There have now been 6 cohorts of students with 8-12 students per cohort for a total of about 60 graduates.

JVS Toronto received funding from the Ford government to train Jewish women in Ontario to work as cybersecurity analysts.

I believe very much in back of the envelope math calculations. Try as I might to see things McNaughton’s way, my view is it would’ve been more efficient to provide the funds directly to the students. 

The net savings would represent a $1078 discount over the contract cost. In turn, the extra money saved by directly funding the students would have supported an additional twenty participants, which is considerable, when the current program only supports forty. 

The Government has come forward with funding for the community that had good intentions. But this particular concept seems to be penny-unwise.

Direct subsidies to students may have resulted in fifty per cent more opportunities, which should have been considered as a more desirable outcome.

Brian Gerskup is a life-long Thornhill resident, married father of 3, community organizer, and frequent flyer

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Thank you for choosing TheJ.Ca as your source for Canadian Jewish News.

We do news differently!

Our positioning as a Zionist News Media platform sets us apart from the rest. While other Canadian Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas, TheJ.Ca is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

But we can’t do it alone. We need your HELP!

Our ability to thrive and grow in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters like you.

Monthly support is a great way to help us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make to support Jewish Journalism.

We thank you for your ongoing support.

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