By: Mike Anderson

It was more good news for Georgina Trades Training Inc. (GTTI), as the province announced more than $4 million in funding for its new Skilled Trades Institute on July 3.

This follows a $2.6 million investment by the Town of Georgina, approved by council on June 24.

The institute, which will be located at 1614 Metro Rd. in Willow Beach, will train up to 200 students a year to build modular homes for affordable housing projects across the region.

The program, led by GTTI, will be run through SkillsOntario, which will help connect graduates with employers in the residential construction industry.

“This project shows how our government is partnering with local communities to address economic challenges and help more people find work in the trades,” said Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development in a media release on July 3.

“Many communities have been hit hard by the pandemic. As we continue to reopen Ontario’s economy, effective training initiatives will be an essential part of our efforts to get everyone back on the job.”

York-Simcoe MPP Caroline Mulroney has been a supporter of the project from its inception and believes it will address two significant issues in her riding: jobs and affordable housing.

“We want to help people get the skills they need for jobs that we know will be there. We believe that construction and infrastructure building are going to be a key part of our economic recovery,” said Ms. Mulroney, who also believes the project, though its partnership with Habitat for Humanity, will help address the chronic shortage of affordable housing in the region.

“The ministry is actually very excited about this model. And, I hope that they will look at extending it beyond Georgina to other places. And I think that if they do that, it will really put GTTI, and Georgina on the map.”

The Town of Georgina is also a major partner, providing the initial upfront funding and leasing the land to GTTI to establish the new campus.

“This is stepping out of maybe what normally is our mandate. But if you look at our mandate as being economic development, this feeds right into it; the education, the affordable housing, the eyes on Georgina in such a positive way is huge to us,” said Mayor Margaret Quirk.

“I see it as a real catalyst for bringing other businesses to the town and other affordable housing ideas.”

John De Faveri, Chair of GTTI, is excited about the potential benefits a new Skilled Trades Institute will bring to Georgina and hundreds of young people thinking about a career in the trades.

“It’s a great opportunity that we’ve worked hard on since our inception. We’ll be able to go out into the community to recruit students in a way that we never have before,” he said.

“We do great training, and we just want to make it available to more students. Being able to put through 200 students a year, just in this one program. It’s what we’ve been dreaming about.”

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